Monday, August 13, 2012

Internet Librarian International

It's official!  I'm representing Awful Library Books at Internet Librarian International 2012 in London, England!  It is on October 30 and 31, but of course I'm building in some vacation time.

Here's the weird part: I was originally given a one-hour time slot in which to speak.  Perfect.  Then I found out that there are two other people sharing that one-hour time slot.  I get approximately 18 minutes to give a talk on librarians providing tech support at the reference desk.  I'll really have to pair this presentation down to ten or so slides, at most.

Mary (the other half of ALB) and I were going to travel to London together for the conference, but for an 18 minute presentation that we would have to split, we couldn't justify the cost of both of us going.  (Since this is ALB business and not a work conference, I have to pay for it on my own too.) So, I'm taking one for the team and going alone.  I have mixed feelings about that.  I love traveling with Mary, and our programs are better together.  On the other hand, it is ridiculous for both of us to go.  Only one of us gets complimentary conference registration, and we'd both have to cover the travel and accommodations on our own.  She called the next one, so London here I come!

If you've ever attended this conference, I'd love to hear about it.  If you've ever spoken at it (or any international conference for that matter), I'd love to hear about that too.  I don't really know what to expect.  The information I have received so far says to remember that the audience does not necessarily have English as their first language (although being in London, maybe a higher percentage do??).  I need to speak slowly and enunciate clearly. 

Also, with only 18 minutes I really need to get to the point.  I'm guessing that the people who attend this conference are more likely to be tech-savvy staff and/or academic librarians.  I don't see a lot of public libraries affording this kind of conference, or even finding it relevant enough to travel that far.  I may talk more about library relevancy, relationships between librarians and IT staff, and training methods for librarians and less about general technology competencies and why tech support IS reference.  As I update and choose which slides to use, this will hopefully become more clear.

Nervous! Excited! Thrilled!  Now making plans for the vacation portion of the trip so I can then focus on the program part of the trip.


  1. I wish I was going this year, I'm sure your session will be fab!

    I spoke at last year's ILI so may be able to provide some insight. It's true that English isn't the first language of some of the attendees, but their English is very good so I wouldn't worry too much. Speaking a little more slowly is probably a good plan though.

    The sessions are relatively short - I had the same 18 minute slot last year and struggled a little to get everything in. I'd recommend focusing on just a very small number of key messages (probably no more than three). The schedule is packed pretty full which is why the sessions are a little shorter than other conferences.

    There will be some public librarians I imagine, but I would agree that the majority tend to be academic/research backgrounds, plus some corporate librarians. Most will be tech-savvy I would think yes, so I wouldn't worry about trying to cover too much of the basics - just a brief overview to set the scene will be fine.

    I blogged after ILI last year which might give you some idea of the sorts of things discussed and the audience:

    I hope you have a wonderful time - is it your first time in England? Have fun! :)

  2. That is incredibly helpful. Thanks so much for the info and the link.

    This is my second time in London, and I'm building a bit of vacation time into the trip to see all the things I didn't have time for the first time. Very excited! (Oh, and the conference looks great too! Ha ha!)