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Live from Reno (but not so much–yet)

It feels like home here.  Greetings from AASL’s 13th Annual Conference!  I feel like I am with my people.

I am learning much and will be posting more once I process.  (I am still not very good at live blogging.) 

One of the thrills has been meeting and scheming with young librarians.  Robin Williams (from San Jose State), for instance, promised to teach me how to create widgets and offered to dress me in Second Life. 

Ross Todd asked provocative and frightening questions regarding future practice at Treasure Mountain.  Daniel Pink shared sticky ideas from A Whole New Mind and described his six essential aptitudes for the conceptual age–design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning.  His final question continues to resonate: If you had $20 million in the bank and 10 years to live, would you still be doing what you are doing now?

Deb Logan presented fabulous tips for creating, using, and sharing evidence.  And I am making exciting progress in my new mission to get the major databases (free and subscription) to create iGoogle widgets.

The conference is nobly green.  Handouts are posted. (Mine are late, but they will be.)  The new standards may now be downloaded and widely shared.  Scholastic Library Publishing distributed its latest version of School Libraries Work.

But, beyond the conference blog, it feels a little 1.0 here. There is no unconference here. No back channeling.

Following my experiences at NECC and BLC and K12 Online, I sort of expected a conference experience beyond the session rooms.  No one is Tweeting.  No one is streaming.  No Fireside chats.  No non-attendees Skyping in.  Only two people have uploading photos on Flickr using the tags AASL07 or AASL2007 (and one of them is me).

While keynoter Daniel Pink displayed a clear sense of presentation zen, nearly every presentation was so 1.0, so laden with bullets.  No bring your own laptop make-and-take sessions.

How cool would it be if we could have archived Exploratorium as a Flickr gallery so that the world could see (and comment on) what’s working in school libraries?  Next year in Second Life?  All that good work was so ephemeral.

A few of us are scheming.  We could be sharing this amazing experience in bigger ways in ways that may even increase revenue.  Can we make Conference 14 a little more 2.0?  Let’s offer to help with the evolution.

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Christopher Harris says:

    Joyce, count me in! Maybe a space could still be created and Exploratorium participants could be invited to submit electronic documents to support what they discussed? Maybe they could be encouraged to submit some rough cut audio to create a more multimedia experience to recreate the excellent sharing session? Even if the audio was just a phone call into a digital voicemail box, couldn’t someone then help with the editing? I bet there are pictures out there from everyone as well.

    One of the challenges for AASL/ALA will be to find a way to create this…and then let go. In the new media, new online world we are talking about, some of this has to be created and released without additional charges. If they are already members, there is probably a good reason (and probably financial in basis at least in part) that they weren’t at the conference. If people who view this aren’t members, maybe this will help them see what AASL membership can do for them.

    Conference sessions are certainly a commodity, but they are a very small part of the conference experience. It seems many other organizations and conferences have realized that giving away conference session audio online is a worthy loss leader for encouraging people to attend the conference.

    Sorry I don’t have any Flickr pics up, but I don’t do pictures much. I love looking at them though.

    We have two years to get other things set up. I would love to see a content management system set up with “rooms” for each session. Those rooms would have the handouts (you know, in a findable place!) as well as a chat room, streaming of the session (live!?!) and a place for further reflection.

  2. joycevalenza says:

    Great ideas, Chris, especially in capturing Exploratorium! The rooms idea would allow participation from so many others who could not travel to conference. It looks like a committee may form and I may call for your guidance. Great seeing you!

  3. Robin T. Williams says:

    People are constantly talking about the “ephemeral” Internet and yet my first question after walking through the amazing, yet ultra crowded Exploratorium was, “What happens with all of these posters after the convention?” This was my first convention and there were so many amazing ideas many of which I didn’t have time to investigate fully. I would love to revisit them online and hear about related things that others are doing as well. Since collaboration is a major concept for us, I would love to see the brilliant ideas as a springboard for collaboration. The joy of Web 2.0 is a constant evolution of knowledge and I am sure that we can use some of these tools to enable us all to experience and learn from all of the ideas presented, even if we were not physically able to see or interact each one. A photo-based system that allowed comments and linked to presenter’s sites would take little time to set up. I can think of a host of great tools but in six months there may be better ones. There is no substitute for attendance but now that I’ve stepped out of the whirlwind, I’d like to keep up the momentum. If there is anything I can do to help, count me in!

  4. June Keuhn says:

    Last time when AASL was in Pittsburgh, the Exploritorium docs were available online after the conference itself.

  5. Sara Kelly Johns says:

    SUPER ideas…please make sure these get back to the conference committee, OK? Carl Harvey and Allison Kaplan will want to hear these ideas. There were a few workshops that did take advantage of the wireless connection but more could…we need to make sure that all AASL conferences are 2.0 from now on…Charlotte ’09!

  6. Oolkxsof says:


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