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Thursday, June 28, 2018

ALA Conference 2018 Report: Podcasting, Book Buzzing and More

For today’s conference report, I am going to give shorter reports on some of the better presentations I attended. I will be linking to the notes I took on Twitter which you will be able to access with or without an account. I am also not going in order of my attendance at these programs, rather I am grouping like things. Finally, this is not everything I did, but the ones that I think you will all get the most out of.

I want to begin with So You want to Podcast Featuring these talented people:

Photo from American Libraries
There is already a write up of the program on the American Libraries Magazine webpage which you can access here and which has this info about the panelists you see there although I rearranged the text from the article into the order these people are standing l-r:
T is for Trainingthe invention of Harford County (Md.) Public Library Technical Trainer Maurice Coleman, has been in existence for 10 years. “Sitting on the floor and talking to people, that’s where I got my education,” says Coleman. “I wanted to replicate that.”
 Angela Ocana, who cohosts her almost-one-year-old graphic novel- and manga-themed podcast One Panel Later with fellow teen librarian Kelly Quinn Chiu, says “it’s just a labor of love for us.” The two now collaborate across state lines since Ocana took a library job in Oregon. 
For Sara Benson, copyright librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and creator of Copyright Chat, it was about sharing her expertise: “I love copyright, and I find it very accessible, but a lot of people don’t. I try to aim [Copyright Chat] at librarians, or really anyone.” 
Steve Thomas, branch manager with Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Library, has been producing the Circulating Ideas podcast for about seven years. He had been listening to a lot of podcasts when he decided enter the arena, with a premise of “if Terry Gross talked to librarians.” 
I put my live Tweets from the program into one thread here but here are a few I want to highlight and some comments I want to share:

  • First thing I noticed right away, even before the program started, these people are amazing at banter and chatting. Duh, I know, but I commented that ALA should think about finding people who are good at presenting information and themselves verbally to be on as many panels as possible. Seriously, like give these people, and others like myself, free conference registration and make us work moderating panels, introducing speakers, and keeping things on track. There are many times that an experienced speaker can make a program better by moderating. It is not others’ fault that they did something awesome they want to share but are bad at presenting. Sometimes I think what would be an informative conference program tanks not because the information isn’t useful and inspiring but because the delivery is poor. There are plenty of us out there who could help though. 
  • I very much appreciated how the panel had a diversity of experience both in length of time they have been podcasting AND in their subject matter. They also all have a different style which was nice to see. There is no 1 type of podcast that you can do as a library worker. You can do anything as long as you are committed to it and passionate about it.
  • The comment that if you are doing a podcast to get famous, don’t. It is a lot of work and you need to have a passion for it to keep going.
  • At the end, I got up and asked about how they pay for the podcast. I am friends with Steve so I know he gets advertisers and has done a lot of fundraising. He is committed to not using his own money for this, to keeping it professional. I wanted to know how the others fund their podcasts. Sara does it through the University, but Maurice and Angela pay out of pocket. As Angela said to me, “I work to feed my podcast habit.” I get this, but it makes me upset. We already have to work so hard as a profession to demand that we are paid for our work, this attitude does not help. Yes the podcasts get made and help people, but we are not helping the problem we have created. We do not value our own work enough to demand we are compensated for it. I love what I do, but I demand I am paid for it. Some libraries are upset that I won’t travel across the country and train them for free. Some in my area continually ask me to come but won’t pay me my very fair rate. Sorry. Read the blog if you want free. What I do is a professional service. I need to be paid for it.
Read my entire live Tweet feed though because I have stats and other comments that I didn’t mention above and are not in the article. It was a good one. I am glad I went to it. I learned quite a bit.

My next group of programs were all of the book buzz or awards variety. I am mostly going to direct you to the live tweeting I did.

First I want to highlight the Literary Tastes breakfast which honors some of the winners of RUSA’s Books and Media Awards [link to all winners past and present here].  Here is the link to the full live Tweeting thread with pictures of the authors and their books. It was inspiring with more than one author breaking down. And shockingly, Scott Brick had the most emotional moment. Everyone agreed. Click through to read about it. It brought the room to tears.

I also went to a Mystery Buzz featuring a few authors. I put each author’s comments in their own thread. If you click on the author you will see my notes:

On Monday morning I went to the LibraryReads breakfast. I did not live Tweet it because I was also prepping for my talk [reported here]. Here are the details of who appeared:
Now the only way to start your last NOLA day, LibraryReads brings you the Monday Book-a-licious author breakfast! Hear from this year's slate of authors whose new books are soon to be the most popular with you and your patrons! Sarah McCoy, author of Marilla of Green Gables (William Morrow/HarperCollins); Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy, An American Memoir (Scribner/Simon & Schuster); Somayia Daud, author of Mirage (Flatiron Books/Macmillan); Tim Johnston, author of The Current (Algonquin Books/Workman); Leif Enger, author of Virgil Wander (Atlantic Monthly Press). 
Here is a picture I took of my friend Magan with the stack of books mentioned above:

I do want to make a general comment about the presentations. McCoy was good. Laymon and Daud were amazing. Enger was also good. But Jonston did not prepare and rambled and was not very nice to Rebecca Vnuk [although she held her own] and... I could go on but I will stop. Just saying.

Finally here is a link to all of the PW ALA Conference articles which has a lot of conference coverage.

Tomorrow I will be back with some general comments and observations to wrap up the week.

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