talk: what do do when your change agent is broken

I gave a talk yesterday at the NEASIS&T event in Providence Rhode Island. I was psyched to present with John Blyberg and Jill Stover (also at Designing Better Libraries) who have very different backgrounds but both gave great talks. I pulled the “after lunch” slot which is sort of what happens when I ask to not speak before 11 am but I thought it went really well. ASIS&T get togethers are generally a really good time because they are often filled with accomplished and interesting people. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s definitely something I’ve noticed. The topic for the day was From Guerilla Innovation to Institutional Transformation: Information Professionals as Change Agents which to me sounded a little silly, — I have change agent reflux disease — but everyone made really nifty stuff out of it and we had a good time despite being in a really weird room with iffy wireless.

Buoyed my my recent presentation in Michigan, I decided to write the talk I really wanted to give and talk a bit about how my activist background has informed my current work. Sometimes you have to say that something sucks [my suggestion is to go for “suboptimal”] and write a manifesto to get noticed, but that these are okay tacks to take if you’re really solving the problems and can do it without being a jerk yourself.

Anyhow, I did another Keynote presentation — I’m still in favor of a no-PowerPoint approach generally but I’m learning other methods for other occasions — and you can see my slides and links online here: Sleeper 2.0 – Agitprop problem solving. Thanks to Jill and John for giving such excellent talks and thanks also to ASIST&T for inviting me.

Simmons Skillshare report – nice work team!

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 LibrarianLiteracy 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.