Reflections on Library Camp Nebraska 2008

ConversationLibrary Camp Nebraska was the first full event that I suggested, organized and implemented. It’s now the next day and I’m still exhausted. From the original idea after attending Library Camp Kansas back in March, through our event yesterday, there was a lot of planning and preparation to have yesterday go off as well as it did. Before I talk specifics I want to specifically thank Christa Burns, Diane Wells, Karin Dalziel, and Scott Childers for all their help throughout the process. I couldn’t have done it without you.

So, what happened at Library Camp? In a word, conversation. 51 librarians arrived about 9am for registration and refreshments. At 9:30 we all gathered in the main room to decide the day’s topics. These topics ranged from Using Web 2.0 for Marketing, Distance Education, Youth Services, Going Green, Social Bookmarking, OCLC, Privacy, Recruitment, Advocacy, Web Design, High Tech vs. High Touch, Cheap and Free Tools, and my personal favorite Wildly Impractical Expensive Ideas for your Library.

Amy MatherWe ended up with three one-our sessions along with the impractical topic being the lunch-time topic. In each session the person who suggested the topic was assigned to be the conversation facilitator and asked that one person in each room also put their notes directly into the wiki. (Some rooms ended up having no one with a laptop so those notes should appear on the wiki in the next few days.) All of those notes can be read, and contributed to on the Notes from the day page.

As the event organizer I didn’t hide myself in any one room during each session. I wandered from room to room taking photos (check out the Flickr pool) and listening. I did contribute to a few topics but I didn’t want anyone to think I was in charge of anything. The point was to let the conversations go wherever they ended up going. As one person commented at the end of the day, that’s exactly what happened.

Charging laptops at lunch timeI did notice that the largest groups were around the two sessions on using Web 2.0 tools for marketing. The smallest sessions were the repeated High Tech vs. High Touch (the group in the morning version was much larger so maybe that one didn’t need to be repeated in the afternoon) and the privacy discussion. (I’ll also note that four of the five people in that room were NLC staff which I found interesting.)

The range of attendees were wonderful. From directors to front-line staff, academic to public to school librarians, someone one-month from their MLS to those that have been in the profession for decades. We even had one tech consultant from the Iowa state library spend the day with us and commenting that he was going to recommend doing this in his state.

I totally forgot to press the record button on the video camera for the opening session and therefor decided to eschew the video camera the rest of the day. The tripod however was put to great use for a group photo near the end of the day.

Library Camp Nebraska attendee group photo

During the wrap-up session we discussed what happened during the day, should we do it again (a resounding "yes!") and what should be done differently. A few of us ever heard off the record comments that this was better than the annual state conference.

I’m officially declaring Library Camp Nebraska 2008 a success. The plan now is to do one out in the western end of the state involving folks from Wyoming and South Dakota too. Keep an eye out on the Commission blog for details to follow (hopefully) early next year.

Thanks again to all the attendees. You are what made it the success it was.

2 Replies to “Reflections on Library Camp Nebraska 2008”

  1. Well done! This is an inspiring report-back for all of us working on organizing our own camps. Kudos to you and everyone involved!

  2. Excellent. I look forward to spending some time looking at the wiki. Good move on the group photo, too. Wish we’d done that for Library Camp of the West.

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