Anne K. Heimann
Anne received funding through the NNLM MCR Professional Development Award to attend ACRL 2017.
Thanks to the NNLM MCR Professional Development award, I was able to attend the 2017 Association of College & Research Librarians (ACRL) Conference in Baltimore Maryland. The conference is held every two years and brings together thousands of academic librarians from across the country and around the world. This year’s theme “At the Helm: Leading Transformation” was timely given the current climate of our country and the many unknowns librarians face. From federal funding cuts to threats on basic freedoms, this conference provided a lively, informative, educational avenue to learn, connect, and grow as a professional.
One of the many highlights of this year’s meeting was the keynote speakers. David McCandless was the opening keynote. He is a British data-journalist whose primary work is the creation of works that visualize and express data. His presentation featured beautiful graphs and charts on a variety of information, from what is the best dog breed to which country has the biggest military budget. He discussed information design and the impact it can have on how we receive information.
I attended the posters sessions. Each day there were 50 posters featured on topics ranging from information literacy to interlibrary loan to leadership. The poster sessions are a great time to interact with fellow librarians. Because it isn’t possible to view all the posters, ACRL makes them available online through the virtual conference.
I attended as many paper and panel sessions as possible. One of primary interest was titled “Scoping Out Success for Your Users: More Options, Less Confusion” by librarians from the College of Southern Nevada. They discussed their website redesign, which provided MORE options for searching. I found this interesting because the trend has been towards the single search box as an effort to make it easier for our users. However, they found that providing app-like buttons that mapped to commonly used searches was more effective for their users. I also attended a town hall panel on reaching out to your representatives. Given the political climate and the threats to federal education funding there were a lot of questions about the best way to advocate for the importance of libraries.
I believe that ACRL is THE conference to attend if you are an academic librarian.