06 September, 2010

My (first) library camp reflections

no preabmble, no preperation and no first draft. I am about to write out what I am thinking now, a few days after the camp in a conf. Then I will press 'publish post' and go do some shelving.

The library camp was the most fun I have had in a conference, and I think it was very productive too. We were not completely full (unlike some rooms on day 1) but we had a good core of participants and a significant number of other folk who were dropping in when there was nothing in the other streams which called to them. In fact, a drop in space for those who found a gap in their personal program was a big part of our original plan.

Did I mention I had fun? I like to think that some other folk did too, there certainly seemed to be a buzz in the room almost all the time. I think that the participatory nature of a lot of what we decided to do helped with that. There was, most of the time, an opportunity to interrupt, interject and ask for clarification or re-direction. It was great having a lot of people willing to speak. Sure there were plenty sitting quietly, perhaps because that was what they wanted to do, perhaps because there were a few big personalities in the room (well, big for librarians anyway).
Still, the way things went, I believe that some of the less vocal audience members had the opportunity to speak. Certainly I tried during the sessions I facilitated to get everyone involved (even if it was just my obsession with getting people to divide themselves up into statistical groupings - who had a library job pre-graduation, pre-enrolment, not until after cap and gown...)

There was always the opportunity for the breakout groups to come back to the whole camp and give a summary of their conversations. We also had a scanner set up to scan any notes they took, however that didn't happen (no one volunteered their notes) so I do feel like we lost a lot of what was done. I know it lives on in the brains of those who were there and some of them may well use the ideas generated for; succession planning, library training, environmental advocacy and other stuff which I will remember 30 seconds after I publish this post (but I am not coming back to edit it).

Anyway, I hope some of the campers decide to turn their notes into blog posts or even a series of tweets as I would like to read more of what others got out of the time (and also what happened in the breakouts I couldn't attend due to my inability to perfect my cloning machine).

The day the way ran was fantastic, live updates on the program wiki as we adapted and changed the program when topics came up (or died). The stream committee were a wonderfully fluid crew (and it was an absolute pleasure to work with them). We ducked, we weaved and we proved what we had been saying all along "it will work perfectly on the day". That said, for all that Snail and I are duck and weave on the day kinds of people, the whole planning and lead up work was held together admirably by Kate Davis, while Elizabeth Caplice and Michelle DuBroy proved a wonderful support crew. Adapting themselves to everything from chasing speakers and writing bios to taking photos, leading discussions and playing bouncer on the door.

I won't mention any of the wonderful people who did lightning talks for us, nor those who sat on our pannel (their names are available on the conference program). I will also neglect to mention the names of the people who stood up and joined in to facilitate conversations, move furniture, direct traffic. I won't mention anyone by name because I wouldn't want to single out those I know when there were more than a few people whose names I didn't catch who were a big part of a successful day. Plus, I wouldn't want to forget someone's name.

I think, I need to read someone else's view on how #aliaaccess #camp went, because as I sit here trying to write about it, I realise I was too far into the rabbit hole. Perhaps I need to think a while then try to write this again.
Still, in the meantime I will put this out for your reading pleasure (and with luck, some feedback of what Snail and I could do better next time. Because a mere day after the camp, we found ourselves both using the words 'next time' when talking about how we could have done things better).

(photo: Breakout discussion at library camp by Katie Wiese)

1 comment:

alison said...

I got a lot out of Michelle's talk on children's webspaces, found we're already doing what was recommended in the twitter talk, and have signed up for Katy's sustainable libraries group 'cause that was one of our objectives for the year - to go green. #camp was a brilliant atmosphere.
..next time!