If you are in or near the Pittsburgh area and would like to share ideas with a group of interesting socially responsible librarians, consider going to the Progressive Library Skillshare. It’s my birthday weekend, so I’ll be someplace else most likely but it would be on my todo list otherwise.
Yesterday I went to the Simmons College GSLIS Skillshare. I was down in Boston anyhow, so scooting to this event was not difficult and was a lot of fun. Here is the wiki they did for the event. I can show you the two skillshares I went to — with my friend Jessica The Cool Librarian — Literacy and Services to Underserved Populations (reading list, syllabus and links list online), and Digital Information Services and Providers. Both presentations were done by students who really knew what they were talking about, and were interesting and well-received. I think Jessica and I were the only non-students at the skillshares. The keynote was a joint talk by Jenna Freedman and Eric Goldhagen. Jenna talked about the Radical Reference project (ppt) and Eric gave a talk on Open Source software for librarians (ppt). Then there was a nice vegan lunch by the folks at Veggie Planet.
This sort of event is a great way to get students some presentation experience before they have to sink or swim in front of a room of people at a conference or students in a classroom. The fact that everyone was in a classroom setting with (mostly) their peers made it more of a teaching situation and less of a presenting-type deal. I was particularly happy to learn that people in library school are still giving their attention to underserved populations as well as they were, and Jessica and I had some real-world examples that seemed like good complements to the outlines the presenters were giving. For a first event, this skillshare seemed wildly successful and my only personal regret — besides the lack of free ambient wifi — was that more librarians from the area didn’t attend; it was a really good time. Congrats to ASIS&T and PLG for a well-orchestrated event.
The first Simmons College GSLIS skill share will be held on Saturday September 16th from 10 am to 4 pm. Co-sponsored by local chapters of the unlikely bedfellows the American Society for Information Science & Technology and the Progressive Librarians Guild, the event is free and will feature workshops taught by Simmmons students as well as a keynote by my friends Jenna and Eric from Radical Reference. It looks sort of great. See you there?
Radical Reference is doing a bunch of things at ALA in Chicago. The Boston events that I went to were fun and low key and very welcoming to newcomers. If you’re interested in the work they do, swing by and say hello. I’ll be doing a short skillshare called “Oh No He Didn’t! Rumor Control As an Essential Part of Event Based Radical Reference” Monday the 27th at 2:30.