VLA Wrap-up

I just got back from VLA where I gave two half-talks over two days. It’s fun getting to hang out with local librarians. Most of the time I view conferences as a way to meet up with friends and see new places, but the VLA conference is actually good for old-fashioned networking (with new friends who I will see new places with in the future, I am certain).

My first talk was about CSS and I mostly did the intro while Jessica Allard did the bulk of the talk. My second talk was What’s What With Wireless. I gave an overview and then Carl Zeller from Teconic, who I had worked with when I was at the Rutland Free Library, did the safety and networking aspects of it. It was great to do split talks. I think the audience really gains a lot from multiple perspectives even if, as with the wifi talk, the presenters aren’t even always agreeing with each other.

Last night I went over to UVM and hung out with the Vermont Area Group of Unix Enthusiasts (VAGUE) and had pizza and talked about Ubuntu and yes, my little video which has now passed 27,000 views on YouTube, almost surpassing the population of my county. I talked to them about Koha and LibLime and Evergreen which no one there really knew about. They repeatedly apologized for the dark dank basement as if I was familiar with perhaps being someplace else, but I really like hanging out with nerds and geeks. I plan to go to the developers conference in Boston and let them know what library/librarian users might like to see out of an open source desktop OS. I encourage other librarians to go.

A few other things I learned:

  • The VLA Intellectual Freedom Committee is working on strengthening the library privacy laws in the state of Vermont.
  • The new incoming VLA preseident-elect is the assistant director of the library I used to work at, and I got to meet him at the conference.
  • One of the Department of Libraries’ Regional Consultants uses Ubuntu and has some experience in/interest in using Evergreen as an ILS.
  • The current (as of yesterday) president of VLA has some interesting ideas about new directions. I introduced myself to her and said “hey I’m short on tact, but I’m pretty good at getting technology projects working, consider letting me help out with the back end on your projects” and she seemed to think that was a great idea.

I’m sure there’s more but I’m operating at a sleep deficit and a keyboard overload so I’ll add in more when I remember it. Thanks to everyone who made my trip to Burlington fun and interesting.

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