What I learned at ACRL, Act One

Kinda embarrassing that I don’t keep this blog updated.  Anyway, rolled into Seattle today for the ACRL conference.  Flew out of Long Beach, which is about as uncomplicated an airport as one could hope for.  Hell, we even took off early.

My hotel is just under two miles from the convention center, so it’s walkable, but only just.  Fortunately, I rather like walking around new towns; it’s the best way to discover things and get a feel for a place.  And, as it turns out, I’m close to the Needle and there are lots of interesting places near the hotel.  For the record, it’s the Queen Anne district.

As it happens, I ran into my new colleague at the registration desk and met some of her friends and former co-workers.  We promptly discovered that Naomi Klein had canceled last minute and all rather reluctantly went off to hear the last-minute keynote speaker they got in her stead, a guy named Rushmore Kidder.  His talk on ethics was actually pretty good.  Reminded me a little of the work by Marvin Brown, the father of a good friend of mine.  Where he lost me, however, was at the end when the subtext of his argument being based on fairly dogmatic  free enterprise/anti-government stance became rather transparent.

After that I went to the opening of the exhibit hall.  Had some interesting conversastions there.  While talking to a rep from Blackwell (a British bookseller), I learned about a new process of collection development that is so-called “patron driven.”  Unlike the traditional approval plan, which for a small lib like ours would never really come into question, the vendor populates your OPAC with titles that are listed as “available on demand” or some such similar wording.  Then, if a patron requests the item, the librarian can decide whether to purchase or not.  Seems to make a lot of sense.  We talked a lot about the pros and cons of it all.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t give me any pricing info as they aren’t that far along with it yet.  But, what really struck me is that just two weeks ago in my CD class when we were talking about approval plans, nobody mentioned this new strategy.  It was not in the readings and the prof never mentioned it either.  Makes you wonder what you’re paying for if the curriculum is not keeping up with changes in the profession.

Also spoke at length withSirsiDynix in an effort to do some preliminary research on getting a new ILS.  Still need to check in with the other big players in the market over the next few days.

To top off my conference activities for the day, I stopped by gaming night.  Rock Band was too intimidating.  But I did enjoy a game called Hamster Roll, which is a German game that involves balancing verious wood pieces inside a wheel.  Was also a good opportunity to meet a few folks.


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