I had a busy but excellent week at the Illinois Library Association Annual Conference and I wanted to make sure to share some of what I experienced, and even things I did not, with all of you.
One of the best things about this conference is that the handouts are available for all. You don't need to have paid to attend, nor do you have to even be an ILA member. Anyone can see the handouts and resources posted for the conference.
Our profession is very focused on peer learning. Our conferences are all reliant upon those in the profession submitting their ideas and then presenting the accepted ones, but it is also reliant upon us all paying for the opportunity to do so.
For those who don't know this, if you are accepted to present, you must find a way to both pay to attend the conference and travel/stay there. I have met many wonderful library workers all over the country who have exciting ideas to share, but they cannot financially get to a conference to share these ideas with us. Their libraries do not have room in their budget to send them to any conferences and their salaries are so low that they cannot pay for themselves.
Okay, this system is extremely messed up and wrong in so many ways, but some conference [I'm looking at you ALA] make it worse by not allowing free viewing of the handouts and resources from their conferences by anyone. You have top have paid to attend or buy a "virtual" conference ticket. It really is an embarrassment. A profession about learning and sharing knowledge, powered by tax payer dollars [for the publics and school libraries], puts the learning behind a paywall. Meaning many libraries are faced with the choice that they could provide materials and services to their patrons OR send someone to a conference. As a librarian and a trustee [thankfully from a well funded library that was able to send many to ILA], I know that if that choice had to be made I would side with the patrons.
But not ILA. I am so proud to be involved with a state library organization that has NO pay wall for the conference resources. There is a reason I put so much effort and time into my state library association, in a variety of ways both in public and behind the scenes, and this is one of them.
If you are reading this, no matter where you live, you can go here and view the conference schedule and ALL of the handouts, from EVERY session. And some presenters even have their speaking notes with their slides! To be fair, I did not because mine were short versions of talks I give all of the time.
Also, don't forget that you can also look at the Twitter feed for #ILAAC19 to see what was discussed during the sessions. That does NOT require a Twitter account. Also, if you see a session being tweeted about that looks interesting to you, you can go back to the ILA site and pull up the slides for yourself.
There really is a program here for every library worker, so please pass the link on to your colleagues in other departments.