Friday, March 24, 2006

PLA Wrap Up

My official role at PLA is over now (such as it was). I was the host/greeter at the OCLC exhibit booth for a couple of hours this afternoon, and got to meet a lot of old and new friends. I also got teased incessantly about a life-size foam board mounted picture of me that had been installed in the exhibit space as an ad for WebJunction, and the Curious George column in particular. Lorcan Dempsey may have fangirls, but I have a doppelganger!

Earlier, I had facilitated a discussion of e-learning that featured Sarah Chesemore, the Learning Manager for WebJunction, Phil Turner, the Vice Provost for Learning Enhancement at the University of North Texas, and Celisa Steele, Vice President of Operations for LearnSomething (which merged with Isoph in 2005). Celisa gave a very good basic introduction to e-learning, Phil talked about how to implement e-learning effectively, and Sarah talked about the findings a survey WebJunction has done on e-learning, and how to find out what's available. The questions and discussions that followed were lively and challenging.

The morning started with the OCLC Update Breakfast, which always seems to start in the middle of the flipping night. I arrived at the hotel banquet room at 6:00 a.m., and several intrepid OCLC staffers, including IAG's own Alice Sneary, Sonya Oliver, and Stephen Leonard, had already started setting up the room. Jay Jordan gave the update, and had the audience both laughing and fascinated by all OCLC is doing.

As a former PLA director, I can't get over how big this conference has gotten. As of yesterday, over 9800 people were registered (compared to maybe 4000 when I was doing that gig). Greta Southard, Linda Bostrom, Barb Macikas, and the whole PLA crew have put together what I think of as the best all around library conference. Of course, I'm a public librarian at heart, and that's what this is all about!

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