CIL2007 – my impressions

Computers in Libraries has come to an end — and it’s a good thing, because my head could not possibly hold any more. Tonight I’m compiling my notes and packing up to return home tomorrow. This conference and its complement, Internet Librarian, are my 2 favorite professional conferences and training opportunities. I’ve summarized the best of the sessions I attended over on SELCO Librarian. This posting is about all that peripheral stuff wandering around in my head.

  • I have a week’s worth of web sites to try and ideas to assimilate to share with our libraries. I can’t wait!
  • There are 2,500 people here. Some are geeks, some are semi-geeks, and at least one is a don’t-wanna-be-a-geek. I met her, I think she was sent here perhaps by a supervisor who hoped it would be a transformational experience.
  • Following a cold and storm front cross-country is not a good idea. It’s warmer in Minnesota this week than it is in Washington D.C. So much for southern sunshine, tulips, and cherry blossoms. At least flying west to east on Sunday was not as bad as it was for our friends from New England, who flew straight into a Nor’easter, if their flights took off at all. Hmmm, seems to be a pattern here: the last time I attended this conference in 1999, it snowed 9 inches and we were virtually snowbound in the hotel.
  • Lots of talk about library automation systems. Marshall Breeding, the guru of library automation summed it up best when he said that the level of ILS innovation is below libraries’ expectations and that library automation vendors are taking baby steps in Library 2.0 technologies. All the while we have been admonished in almost every session to plan and execute technology services aggressively to meet the demands of the public.
  • Conference rooms need more plug-ins. Lap-top computers have batteries that don’t hold a charge for a full day’s note-taking.
  • While in-room hair-dryers and coffee-pots have become ubiquitous in hotels, Hyatt Regency apparently did not get the message about the coffee-pot. Not a good thing for me, who relies on coffee to wake up. Ditto for wireless connectivity. This is the 4th hotel I’ve stayed in the last 2 weeks, and the first where I’ve had to pay for Internet access.
  • Another message someone didn’t get — pedestrians in cross-walks in Washington D.C. are just as fragile as they are in Minnesota. Please don’t run over us! (you’ll be glad to know Donovan and I did NOT get hit Sunday evening).
  • An evening spent with old friends who live in town is a special blessing.
  • I’ve met some great people and collected lots of business cards. It’s true – a stranger is a friend I haven’t met yet.