ALA quasi-con!

As you may or may not know, the ALA Future of Libraries “quasi-conference” is next Saturday, run by me and a wily group of wonderful students.

Quasi-Con is a day long conference run by students but for the whole community.  It was originally one of my ideas to run a small conference as ALA President last Winter. This event went through a myriad of stages and has been very interesting to help develop. When I started planning it, I imagined something perhaps less complicated and interesting than what it has eventually become.

Planning a conference is much more of a group effort than I thought it would be.  Something I had not really comprehended before I started this conference process is how much a conference is changed by the people involved. It’s more than event planning. Creating something as conceptual as a conference of ideas requires multiple standpoints, multiple values, multiple skills. You cannot create that conference mindset by yourself.

Students (especially librarians-to-be) spend every day thinking about the future of libraries, for example. But we think about it in so many different ways. About halfway through this process, it became clear how much this would be participant-driven. Everyone had something to share.Because in a perfect conference world, everyone confers.

I hope they do this next year because I have some ideas on how to improve it. Firstly get your steering group started early. Because there is nothing more useful than bringing a group of people (separate from other parts of your organization) just to plan one thing. I think this event really became a reality for the Steering Group started meeting. Also, don’t be afraid to dream big. Build it and people will come.

I will try and do a post after event to let this blog know how it went. I will be presenting at the conference on free GIS resources. Will be sure and do a wrap-up of resources after the talk!