Our last night in Jamaica, Michael, Mary and I went to an English Pub a bit down the road for a final dinner. We were joined by Loida Garcia-Febo, Tony Tallent, Carrie Gits (can’t find a blog for her – anyone else know where she can be found online?) and her husband. All were American presenters and we had fun discussing our experiences at the conference. I had the Nottingham Steak & Kidney Pie, since my boyfriend kept telling me to get it while I was in England and I never did. It was ok, but I’ve tried it, and I’ll not be ordering it again…
I got up at 4:30 the next morning and made it to the airport in plenty of time for my 7:25 flight – which, in true Island Time fashion – didn’t take off until 9:30. The rest of my travel home was on time and – mostly – worry free. We had to divert around to come into St. Louis from the west, because the southeast approach was closed due to weather and the descent was a bit rough, but I landed and got home safely!
The conference was great! One of the last sessions I attended was an informal meeting of the Academic SIG and there was a lot of discussion about Web 2.0 “stuff” as used in the Caribbean. The discussion about the differences in culture and in the way they do things, as opposed to the way us Americans do things, was eye-opening. They are starting to experiment with things like blogs and Learning 2.0, but the penetration of computers into the population is fairly low, so they aren’t focusing on those things like we do here in the states.
Overall, the people were friendly and welcoming to us American visitors – we all had a chance to really get to know some of the librarians who are working so hard in these countries to bring Internet access and books to their patrons. Between the conversations in the hallways (or outside in the coffee break area – that was where I hung out a lot!) and the videos from Eric & Jaap (you may have to be a Facebook user to see this video) giving us all a great view into the local libraries, there was a lot of learning going on, at least by me! I’ve always said that the best part of any conference is the “extra” networking that happens between sessions, and that held true for this one. It was a fabulous conference, with a bunch of great librarians who shared their cultures and their ideas with us!
Updated 6-13-08 Carrie left a comment with her blog address on it and I wanted to be sure that everyone knew that her name is now linked to her blog. The blog is at http://librarianandherblog.blogspot.com/ – go say hi to Carrie and give her some biblioblogsphere love!!