The Unclassifiable Library Remix

Friday, March 16, 2007

Free Trip to the Beach

I am here in what was beautiful, sunny Virginia Beach, where I attended the 3rd Annual ILLiad International Meeting. Not only did OCLC/Atlas pick a beautiful place to have the conference, but Virginia Beach is also my hometown, so I was greatly looking forward to attending. It didn't hurt that because this is a professional conference, work is paying for travel, hotel, and food.

I got into the Norfolk airport on Tuesday and had a nice dinner and checked into the Oceanfront Hilton, where the conference is being held. I arrived early, as I attended one of the pre-conference workshops.

The Wednesday workshop I attended was on maximizing ILLiad. ILLiad is a very robust software system, and I wanted to make sure we were using it to its fullest potential. This was an interesting session, as we touched very briefly on a multitude of topics. Since most of the conference attendees weren't around yet, I hit the beach for some surfing. The water was a bit tingly, but that just adds to the rush.

Thursday, things really got into full swing. We ate the most delicious food, and the sessions I attended were thought-provoking, but more abstract than I usually go for. I tend to prefer hands-on workshops that I can immediately apply to my job - theory only goes so far. But one thing I like about the ILLiad conference is that all the handouts for all the sessions are given to all of the conference attendees. So since I was going to be able to read about all of the sessions, I enjoyed getting a theoretical approach for a change while I was there. I'm going to read about all the hands-on stuff on the trip home and next week, so I'll get the best of both worlds.

Thursday night was my favorite part of the conference ... I always say that you learn more over dinner with your colleagues than in any official session. I went out with about 7 other librarians, some I had just met and some I knew, to my favorite seafood restaurant in town - Harpoon Larry's. It was fabulous.

The conference finished up with more eating and a few more sessions on Friday, before we all went our respective ways. The weather was empathetic...having turned from sunny and warm to cold and rainy overnight. The trip home was rather dismal, because the weather was so nasty, and also because it's always so nice to have a change of pace and always a little bit of a let down to return to the "real world."

If you work with ILLiad and haven't been to one of the conferences, I highly recommend it! I think it is one of the best professional events I have ever attended...and not just because they fed us so well.

Sessions I attended:
"The Long Tail" and the Growing Social Nature of Information
The $64,000 Questions Answered: Why do patrons place requests for items the library already owns?
The Tao of ILLiad
ILLiad is Everywhere
Campus Document Delivery: Centralization and Collaboration

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