Today was the first time I’d blogged an MLA poster session, and the learning curve was surprisingly steep. An hour was simply not enough time to take in dozens of posters, converse with their presenters, and document the experience — at least not enough to do them all justice.
It was also a crash course in reporting, which is not something most librarians are trained to do, either in an ALA-accredited master’s program or in their subsequent employment. I had to consciously restrain myself from jotting down the lively chatter I overheard in front of some posters without first introducing myself and my purpose.
I stumbled into one such conversation between Jim Brucker of Northwestern University and Pam Hastings of McLean Hospital about Jim’s poster, “One Survey to Rule Them All” (poster #218).
“Every year you hear through the grapevine about which libraries are in the eye of the hurricane, so to speak,” Jim observed. ”Some come through it, some don’t. Some improve. That was the idea behind this ongoing survey. We want to know how the changes we’ve made impacted our users.”
The conversation turned to Google and Wikipedia, which the three of us all freely admitted using from time to time. “I signed up to edit my hospital’s Wikipedia article, because it was wrong!” Hastings exclaimed. Brucker noted that one of his co-authors had taken on the role of Communications Coordinator for their library to help manage its presence, reputation and online identity, particularly regarding social media tools.
When I finally moved on, the two were still chatting energetically.