Thursday, March 19, 2009
ACRL 2009: An Overview
It's hard to believe the ACRL conference has come and gone; I spent so much time preparing that the actuality was almost anticlimactic. I took a vacation day and designated Wednesday a travel day for two reasons (1) it was cheaper to pay an extra night in the hotel than fly out Thursday, and (2) I wanted to take one of the Seattle tours before the conference officially opened. It worked well, I was able to have a bit of time to acclimate myself to the new time zone and see a few sights on an unusually sunny Seattle day. I took over 300 photos, got yummy chocolate covered cherries at Pike Place Market and our tour bus hit a parked car ... but that's another thing.
I enjoyed this conference a great deal more than the ACRL conference in Minnesota, not because of the venue or location, but because the programs offered were a bit more diverse. My particular favorite was the Cyber Zed Shed; a series of twenty minute technology presentations offered near the poster session pavilion. There are only so many instruction and research sessions a body can take, these were great windows of opportunity. I gleefully attended six or seven of these mini-sessions (more on them later) and brought back some very usable tips, tricks, and technology.
ACRL's opening keynote speaker was Rushworth Kidder, replacing author Naomi Klein. Kidder presented an intriguing discussion on ethics and "Moral Courage." I also had opportunity to hear young adult author, poet, and screenwriter Sherman Alexie, known to me because of his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, as a keynote speaker Friday evening. The conference reception on Saturday evening was at the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Hall of Fame, definitely a unique location with interesting exhibits and plenty to eat.
Sunday brought snow to the Seattle area, a weather phenom as odd as the sunshine it seems. Though the shuttle bus drive had to stop three times on the way to the airport to clean the windshield, we arrived in plenty of time. Someday I'll understand why it takes four hours to fly from Houston to Seattle and only three hours to fly from Seattle to Houston, but not today. Someday I'll understand why pilots have to say "mechanical" problem when we are waiting for maintenance to bring a stopper for the bathroom before take-off, but my lunch hour is over and I do not have time to ponder this either.