SLA 2011: A first-timer reacts

This week I was a first-timer at the SLA 2011 Annual Conference in Philadelphia. I’ve been back on English soil for a few hours and here are my immediate reactions and highlights.

Firstly, I have to admit that I’m properly exhausted. In all senses of the word, the conference was conducted on a massive scale – a sprawling convention centre and a packed catalogue of sessions. Most days were 8am-midnight, with breakfast meetings (sausages and financial forecasts), back-to-back afternoon sessions and evening networking drinks.

The conference combined a good balance of big ideas sessions, which offered glimpses of inspiration, coupled with practical sessions filled with tangible content and tips to take to work on Monday morning. I left some sessions – see Abram and Salo below – giddy with energy for the profession and a little bit in awe.

A quick list of my highlights:

  • Creative Commons Vice-President Mike Linksvayer discussing copyright and open access as a ‘social responsibility’
  • Meeting information professionals – particularly SLA Europe members, SLA Fellows and other ECCA winners, @ChingfordHall, @shw34 and @theREALwikiman
  • Developing an elevator speech with Mary Ellen Bates – succinctly explaining what you do in the context of users’ needs
  • Dorothea Salo’s spotlight session on Scholarly Communication and Open Access in the 21st Century
  • Eating a pancake bigger than my head – here
  • New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s keynote speech – the world is getting flatter and more connected
  • Stephen Abram’s spotlight session: Getting Out in Front of the Curve – the ‘article-level universe’ and contemplating ‘scary’ geniuses Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs
  • A sneaky trip to Macy’s to buy the best handbag I have ever owned
  • 60 sites in 60 minutes with Gayle Lynn-Nelson and John DiGilio from the SLA Legal Division – including the awesome What’s That Bug? and collaborative search engines
  • Realising that being an information professional isn’t just about going to work every day but engaging, contributing and advocating

Thanks again to SLA Europe and the Business & Finance Division for trusting me with a plane ticket and a conference lanyard.

I’ll be blogging about specific sessions in more detail this week and for the SLA Europe blog soon.

I’m off to bed.

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About nataliafay
Librarian. Human.

7 Responses to SLA 2011: A first-timer reacts

  1. HazelHall says:

    I have to concur with your view of the handbag! It was great to meet you at SLA 2011.

  2. ninfield says:

    I am very encouraged to see developing an elevator speech on the list.

    I am becoming increasingly obsessed with this as a form of communicating who we are and what we do to a wider audience.

    • nataliafay says:

      I agree. An emphasis of that session was the importance of explaining what you do in an intriguing way. Not just reeling off a few ‘info pro’ phrases and expecting everyone to understand. I’ll blog about it soon.

  3. Pingback: Getting out of the reflective practice rut « nataliafay

  4. Pingback: My #SLA11 Experience, in video form… « thewikiman

  5. Pingback: Preparing for SLA conference in July « Kate from UK

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