The last night in Jamaica and an overview of ACURIL 2008

Last supper
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…
Steak & Kidney Pie

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 – go say hi to Carrie and give her some biblioblogsphere love!!


More in Jamaica

Oh goodness, where did I leave off? Yesterday, before my planned trip to Rose Hall Main House, I went back out onto the beach, where I laid out with a trashy beach-read novel in one hand and a margarita in the other. This, my friends, is how we are *supposed* to be living! I enjoyed it for a bit too long, however, and I ended up burning the bejeesus out of my legs. Oh well, it was worth it!!
After that a big thunderstorm rolled in and the Rose Hall tour was out. So I came back to my hotel room and relaxed on the balcony (without closing the door behind me…) and watched the storm roll by. After that was a quick trip down to the bar for a before dinner drink, or two. I made the mistake of getting the “special” of the night, a lethal concoction called the “Bam Bam”. It lived up to it’s name (Just about knocked me flat) – and it was the first drink of the trip served with a paper umbrella, so I had to snap a picture.
The deceptively fruity Bam Bam drink! The ingredients of the Bam Bam
After dinner, I went to the talent show, which was great fun! Us Americans won a prize for being the loudest national group there. We were so proud.
After that, I came upstairs, called Mom, talked to Alex and then called in to the Uncontrolled Vocabulary show. It’s usually on while I’m putting Alex to bed, so I’d never called in before, but since I had the opportunity here…
This morning, I got up and went into Montego Bay proper after breakfast. I spent *way* too much money at a little craft fair thing (but folks are getting great souvenirs this time!) and then came back to the hotel in time to catch Erik & Jaap talk about their previous gaming in libraries tour and their current Shanachie Tour. It was an excellent show!
Now I’m getting ready to go to my last “official” session of the conference. Cliff & I agreed to sit in on an Academic SIG meeting and field questions from the members. It should be fun. After that I’ll be joining Michael and Mary for the Rose Hall tour, then possibly on to an English Pub just a bit down the street.
I’ll catch you all up later!


Creative Commons

Michael presentingI just got back from Michael Sauers’ presentation on Creative Commons and it was an eye opener. I know a bit about the subject, but Michael’s presentation was entertaining as well as informative – for both a newbie to the subject and for me! I use CC for all my flickr and slideshare content that I post, but I didn’t know about the MS Office add-on that allows you to embed CC licenses directly in files created by Office software. I don’t use Word very much any more (thank you, Google Docs!), but I do start nearly all my presentations in PowerPoint, so this will come in handy for that! He also discussed the Nebraska State Library’s efforts to catalog CC material and asked the librarians in the room to do the same at their institutions. It’s a worthy effort, and Michael’s a generous guy – if you need help finding the stuff they’ve done in OCLC, he’ll send you the numbers if you just drop him an email and ask!! Handy!
Now that my work for the day is done, I’m going to enjoy this utterly beautiful day…

and hit the beach, tour the Rose Hall main plantation house and enjoy the librarian’s talent show by the pool this evening! I’ll let you all know how that goes!!

presentations travel

Jamaica – Continued

Well, today has been interesting. I got a message via the BIGWIG site today asking if I was still interested in being part of the social software showcase that happens around and at ALA. I said yes, I was interested, thank you! I’m schlepping my “Collaborating in the Cloud” presentation all over the place these days!
The crowd in my roomSpeaking of, that was the presentation that I did today – and it went over very well. It was another packed room, standing room only, and the audience was very receptive! After the presentation, I got an invitation from a reference librarian at the College of Bermuda to come to them to give the talk again. I’m still unsure if I’ll be able to do that one – timing issues and all – but I’m certainly going to try!! After that, I came back to my room to check my mail and discovered that Michael Stephens, whom I had just name checked in my last post, has asked me if I’d like to post information about what the library is doing in our transition from Exchange email to Google Apps for Domains on his Tame The Web blog. I said yes to that one, definitely!! It was a busy, very productive day!
Michael beginning his powerpointless speechBesides my session, I also attended the forum on copyright this morning. Michael Sauers was one of the panelists and he did a great job explaining the problems with American copyright using funny (and yet sad) stories from the disasters of our copyright policies – he asked the Carribbean folks at the conference not to do what we were doing. He was followed by a lady from the Jamaican copyright office who reported on Jamaica’s attempts to do exactly what the US is doing in regards to copyright. Michael’s expressions during her talk were priceless…
Cliff taking a pic of the room as I'm taking a pic of himI also attended Cliff Landis’ presentation on information overload. I would tell you more about it, but I don’t want to overload you… ok, I’ll overload you! He discussed a number of ways to manage information – being selective about what you choose to receive, such as listservs and the like – and 3 tools to help you manage your information and achieve balance. The slides he used are up on slideshare, so I’ll let you take a look at ’em yourself.
In between all of this activity, I spent a bit of time in my room. At one point, I decided to step out onto the balcony to smoke and see what was going on outside. I shut the balcony door – a bit too hard, apparently – and managed to lock myself on the balcony. Those of you who know me, know that I’m really bad about doing that to my hotel room – done it twice this trip and haven’t blogged about it because it’s just expected and it’s not really news. This is the first time I’ve gotten stuck on a balcony, though. I had to shout 5 floors down to the outside bar below my room to get them to send someone up to let me back into my room. Talk about embarrassing…
DSC00134After the bulk of the conference day was done, we all loaded up in buses and went to the Montego Bay Civic Center, where we saw a collection of performers who gave us a great look into the culture of Jamaica. It was seriously cool!!


First “official” day of ACURIL

Today started off with Stephen Abrams giving a wonderful, as usual, speech about libraries and innovation and the future. I sat next to Cliff, who took notes as Stephen spoke, so I’ll let him give you the details on the talk. After that, I went to lay out for a bit on the beach, since it was beautifully sunny out and I got a bit more sun – as well as a nice lunch at the beach bar & grill.
The room is starting to get pretty full! After cleaning up, I went down to my conference room to get set up for my presentation. I was a bit early (since I’m still on US time, not Jamaican time) and Michael Sauers came by early as well to keep me company, since he figured people wouldn’t really start showing up until 10 minutes or so after 2 (the session was scheduled for 2pm). He was right, and we got started promptly at 2:15.
The room was seriously HOT (and not in a Michael Stephens way), so I pretty much sailed through my slides very, very quickly. I managed to do my 90 minute presentation in just under an hour, just so I could get out of there! The room was pretty much packed – almost all the chairs were taken, so there were probably 50 or so folks in this pretty small room. That didn’t help! After questions, including a great question on copyright issues with Amazon book jackets used in catalogs that I totally handed off to Mr. Sauers (and he loves me for it, I’m sure…), the session broke up. At that point, Erik & Jaap – who are in Jamaica filming for the LBI Shanachie Tour, asked me if they could interview me about library uses of mashups. Those of you who were at Internet Librarian last year might remember them. At this point I remembered that I hadn’t put on any makeup after cleaning up when I came back from the beach. Hopefully the slight sunburn I have will keep me from looking like a dead fish on camera… I’ve been following the exploits of these two talented filmmakers for a while, via the biblioblog circuit, and was thrilled to be included in their project!
Now, it’s stormy (and I have discovered a true love for sitting on my covered balcony, smoking and drinking my cranberry juice and watching a truly warm thunderstorm go by) and I’m glad I took the time this morning to get some sun. I’ll probably not be able to do much laying out until Wed, since I want to see the panel on copyright issues tomorrow morning and I’m back into the presentation room tomorrow afternoon (and I may be heading into Montego Bay proper with Michael and his wife before my song-and-dance). After my presentation is Cliff’s session on Info Overload – I definitely want to attend that one – and then the Jamaican cultural celebration is that night.
I’m here on my own – the library isn’t sending me – but I’m managing to get in as much library-related conference stuff as I do when they do pay my way. There is something wrong with that picture. I should be spending more time on the beach! Oh well, I wouldn’t be teaching others about this crazy Web 2.0 stuff if I didn’t love it myself, so I guess I’ll come back slightly less charbroiled and slightly more informed than I’d planned!


Day 2 of my Jamaican Adventure

ACURIL welcome sign Today I shopped, then I laid on a lounge chair on the beach. That pretty much sums up my day.. I registered for the conference and cleared up the hotel room issue as well, but for the most part, I bummed around until about 6:30pm, when I attended the ACURIL opening ceremony. The ceremony part was nice – a presentation of the flags of the Carribbean nations, lots of welcoming from the various people who have worked hard to put this conference together and a speech from a representative of the Ministry of Tourism about how libraries assist in getting tourists to their destinations (with lots of facts and figures about the number of people who use the Internet to make or research travel arrangements). The real fun of the evening came with the Hatfield Folk & Cultural Group, though. Hatfield Folk & Cultural Group They did some traditional folk songs, some drumming and some dancing. It was a really cool introduction to the Jamaican culture! We also heard the Mount Peace Mento Band do some Bob Marley tunes – which were real crowd pleasers!
After the ceremony was the reception. I sat (somewhat to the dismay of the ACURIL president, who wanted us to mingle) with most of the American presenters at the conference. Michael Sauers, Stephen Abrams and Cliff Landis – as well as Michael’s wife and a Jamaican librarian whose name I never did catch – sat around the table and discussed issues of librarianship and the sad, US-centric state of both the US and US librarians. As Stephen is a Canadian and we had a Jamaican at the table, the insights into how silly we Americans often look were enough to make us one of the loudest (laughing, not arguing) tables in the water park (where the reception was held).
Tomorrow is Stephen’s keynote speech (which I’m looking forward too – I always love hearing him speak!) and my Mashups presentation. I’ll blog about both of those tomorrow night – stay tuned!

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