Suggestions for AALL 2009

I’ve been thinking of some things I’d like to see at AALL 2009. This isn’t to crack on AALL 2008, which I thought went surprisingly smoothly, especially since the Conference hotel and the Convention Center were a 20 minute train ride apart. I’ll probably re-edit this list several times as ideas come to me. Feel free to add your own as well.

1) Free wi-fi for attendees. I mean, come ON. It is the 21st century. Internet access is not a luxury for attendees anymore. Many of us need to keep an eye on things back on the ranch while we’re conferencing and the lines at the Internet cafe in the exhibit hall get ridiculously long. Yes, it’s expensive, but has anyone asked any of the vendors if they’d be willing to pay for or at least partially subsidize it?

2) Poster sessions. (Example: ALA) These would provide more librarians an opportunity to share info (I think there’s only 63 total presentation slots available at AALL), allow for a wider variety of topics (I’ve only been to 3 annual meetings, but every year I hear some people complain that their SIS isn’t well represented topic wise) provide an outlet for people who aren’t yet comfortable with the idea of speaking in front of a crowd, an opportunity to share info that really probably shouldn’t be stretched into even a 30 minute presentation, and most importantly, could have a later idea submission date. I understand the reasoning, but it’s almost ridiculous to try to figure out what’s going to be a relevant topic 11 months in advance, especially if you’re talking about technological issues. Could one even debate the merits of Social Thing and FriendFeed 11 months ago? I know I didn’t know they existed.

3) An official conference wiki so that attendees can get to know each other ahead of time, look for roommates, etc. (Example: Computers in Libraries)

4) Take advantage of the time before the opening event and schedule some stuff then OR go longer in the day on the 3rd day. It just seems that there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it.

5) Conference hotel and convention center? Should be right next to each other.

ETA:

6) Is a conference newspaper really necessary?  Does anyone read it?  It seems like ti’s just ads and it’s a big old waste of paper.

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One Response

  1. Great post! It was my first AALL conference so I really have nothing to compare it to but I did have a great time, met lots of fun people, and learned a lot. Here are a few responses to your suggestions.

    2. I think poster sessions are a great idea! I wonder why they aren’t a part of the AALL meeting already? Maybe they were tried but discontinued?

    4. I went to CONELL Saturday, which was great. I wonder if more activities could be scheduled for the first day that aren’t part of the official program?

    5. The AALL folks who chose Portland were not locals. We Portlanders knew that the convention center with few hotel rooms close by would be an issue, but from what I gather the decision was made without input from local law librarians. Portland is awesome…but perhaps not the best venue for a conference this size.

    6. I’m with you – I picked up the paper every day but didn’t get as much out of it as I did the blogs and websites.

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