Will you even be there? Budgets being what they are, this seems to be a terrible fiscal year for professional development and travel. I know this is already an issue for SLA next month, but I expect IL09 will be hit even more severely, but I could be wrong. (I hope I’m wrong.) I’ll be attending, not only because it’s almost local and travel costs nil, but I’m also presenting a lot. I’m still a little shocked that I was selected to present at all, let alone three times, but I hope it goes well. (I promise, no LOLcats.)
I feel somewhat torn about this whole thing though, and I think I need to either accept it or just let go. I’ve written in the past about the cliquish nature of the library world and how it may be offputting. The only way you can really change anything is by making an effort. I did that. I submitted multiple proposals and now I’m presenting. That’s a change… sort of.
I looked through the program to see the other sessions. I’m excited to see new names, but at the same time I can’t help but notice the usual suspects talking about their standard topics again. Meredith Farkas wrote about being the expert in a field, such as wikis or mashups. It’s a feed-back loop – the more you present about something, the more of an “expert” you are, the more people look to you to for information about that topic, the more they want you to present. Lather, rinse, repeat. I am already worried about getting dubbed the “social media” expert in transportation, especially since I’m not the only person in the field working this this stuff. There are lots of exciting librarians out there doing interesting work, but I think some of it overshadowed because they don’t get the opportunities to brag about themselves. There are two sides to this – 1: They don’t offer themselves up to present because they don’t think they’re worthy compared to the “experts.” 2: They might be overlooked because they are too new, green, or inexperienced at selling themselves. (Few librarians are natural marketers.)
So, I’ll be at IL09. I’ll probably be sleep deprived but in awe of finally being a “producer” instead of just a “consumer”. I also will be thanking everybody who encouraged me not only to submit proposals, but helped coach me in writing them so that I articulate what I actually know and want to present. It’s a skill everybody should learn. That way, we can all become the experts.