IL Overview

Now that I’ve been back from Internet Librarian for a couple of days, I’m ready to write the final overview post for the conference. My big take-aways from this conference were the theme of experience – libraries & librarians providing experiences, not just service – and the absolute utility of Twitter. It seemed like many of the presentations I went to discussed the need for libraries to provide experiences for their patrons, not just books or “customer service”. The obvious presentation was David Lee King’s Designing The Digital Experience, a presentation based on his new book, aptly named “Designing The Digital Experience“. While his presentation was all about the experience, there were other presentations that just touched on the idea – but so many of them did that it stood out to me as a theme for this year.
As for the utility of Twitter – one anecdote comes to mind as the defining moment for the conference. One of my Twitter “tweeps” (twitter + peeps) sent out a tweet announcing $3 margaritas at a local establishment in Monterey. Within 20 minutes there were at least 20-25 people wandering in saying that they had heard that there were cheap drinks available (and yes, I was one of them…). One of our keynote speakers, Harold Rheingold – author of “Smart Mobs” – spent some time discussing the rise of groups of people who congregate where ever the tweet, text message or other “update” message says their friends are. This was definitely a case of a smart mob of librarians getting together for excellent conversation over so-so margaritas.
Finally, I did spend a good number of bytes complaining about the wireless access at IL 2008 this year. I stand behind that – I didn’t get a really good wireless signal until the last half of the last day of the conference. On the other hand, this year’s conference included a “blogger’s row” of tables set up at the front and back of every room. They were a really good idea (though they would have been more useful if we’d have had wireless access…) and something that I’d like to see at more conferences. The conference, in general, was useful and – as always – the bar/restaraunt/hallway conversations were among the most useful parts of the conference – because of the quality folks that attend this quality conference!

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