Sunday, February 26, 2006

Montana OFFLINE is Right On

Bruce Newell convinced me to come to Helena for this weekend's OFFLINE, the annual program co-sponsored by the Montana Library Association and the Montana Library Network. I'm sure glad he did.

First, because Bruce and Lyn McKinney, the other Members Council delegate from Montana, convinced me to read Ivan Doig's This House of Sky, a beautiful rumination on the land and people of the state. I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the love of father and son.

Second, because I got to hear a couple of my colleagues (Pam Bailey of OCLC Western and IAG's own Alane Wilson) give splendid presentations. Since we are rarely presenting at the same event, this was quite a treat.

And third, because I got to hear Mark Sheehan, the Executive Director for Information Services and Chief Information Officer at Montana State University -- Bozeman. In fact, I had the misfortune to follow Mark, who gave the funniest, most comprehensive, and most perfectly pitched technology update I've ever heard. He was marvelous, and just hearing him would have made the trip worthwhile.

But what finally aced it was the fellowship. Montana is a huge state, and sparsely populated. Despite the reputation of Western rugged individuality, this is a state where collaboration and cooperation are the hallmarks of library service. Montana had the equivalent of an OCLC group catalog before we even had that name coined. Bruce has provided true servant leadership in his state, creating consensus and offering a vision that attracts the support of people in disparate libraries and circumstances. We need to clone him, because if Montana is smart, it will never let him go!


Anonymous said...

George is the man!! Thanks for your valuable insight at OFFLINE. All the information was great for a newby tech librarian.

Anonymous said...

I, too, really enjoyed the presentations and conversations - thank you!

I came away hoping to not hear the words convergence or mashup for awhile, brainstorming ways to convey the benefits of flatness to those who like the round + stuck on the novelty and grossnesss of Turducken.

To my surprise, my partner had heard of Turducken, via John Madden, and he showed me the November 2005 National Geographic article on Maurice, LA.

Synchronicity - I came across the Sage publication Convergence today. It's published quarterly and "is an international refereed academic paper journal which was set up in 1995 to address the creative, social, political and pedagogical issues raised by the advent of new media technologies."

~ Looking forward to the next MT librarian gathering