Monthly Archives: March 2017

#acrl2017 – it’s a wrap

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Hello, friends.

I wrote a post on Thursday titled ACRL2017 – Day Zero, implying to myself and you that I would be posting daily updates from the conference. HAHAHAHA. It’s always good to aspire, right?

This was my ninth ACRL – yes, ninth – and I was giving some thought to that over the course of the conference. I’m 17 years into this library adventure and I reckon that’s just a little bit less than halfway through, assuming I don’t win the lottery or have a life-changing encounter and open that goat farm that’s previously been my post-apocalyptic Plan B, or whatever. What kind of world will we be living in? Where will libraries be at that time? Where will I be? What choices should I be making now that I’ll be happy with in 20 years? These are some of the questions that were in the back of my mind as I experienced the conference.

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#acrl2017 – day zero

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Greetings from Baltimore, where I and a record-attendance-crowd of around 3400 academic librarians have gathered for the 2017 ACRL Conference. I always look forward to this biennial event not just for the session content but also (obviously) for the opportunity to reconnect with friends and former colleagues, and to meet new folks. And for the eating, naturally.

Baltimore is off to a strong start there – last night we enjoyed a marvelous dinner at Woodberry Kitchen with dear friend Peter. I enjoyed it so much I really didn’t take any photos (once we got going anyway…).


Beautiful space in an old mill, especially resonant for my husband who grew up in a mill town.

Even in a large city, ACRL-time is a pretty high concentration of faces you know, so there are all sorts of wonderful moments where you look up to see a pod of dear friends also crossing the same footbridge.

I thought the opening keynote by David McCandless was excellent. Mr McCandless is a London-based “data journalist” – his data visualizations are marvelous, and he gave an unpretentious, fun, engaging, and funny talk. Again, I just stayed in the moment and simply enjoyed the talk, but if I were going to boil it down to a couple of major takeaways they would be:

  • Context is key – and seeking context is a practice that we would do well to be mindful about, because (especially in a highly visual world, but regardless) the easy path is to not dig deep enough and that leaves us subject to our own, or others’, biases. But you’ve probably all heard me droning on about the importance of context before in the context of user experience work (see what I did there)
  • Making things beautiful, efficient, informative, and clear is worthwhile and it does make a difference.

I will have more takeaways from the talk, obviously, as I have time to process further, but that’s what I was thinking about this morning.

Check out the visualizations online at Information Is Beautiful.

It was a great start to the conference! My Thursday schedule includes a paper on library bathrooms so watch for tomorrow’s report.