LIASA 12 Conference, 2010

There is a sound I’m trying to make that sounds like Yikes with a bit of Egad, and all I’m getting is meh.
Don’t get me wrong, being here is a privilege and an honor, but it also significantly highlights 2 very important things.
Thing 1
Academic Librarians rule the roost. They set the agenda’s, and make the calls for presentations and more than likely respond. It’s not their fault.
They section of the Information practitioners side is very technical and paper driven. That’s how they do their job. So it’s not their fault that some of the presentations are fuzzy wuzzy pie in the analytical sky fluff, that in the context of a public library is as much help as waving yours arms and clucking like a chicken to  get books back on the shelf.
Which bring us too:
Thing 2
The irony is that most of the presentations if not outright scholarly is totally aimed at Public Librarians. Which is fine,  except for that niggling issue of academic librarians outnumbering Public Librarians, by a good margin.
But the crowing cherry on the not so inconsequential cake, is that the same old platitudes that were stalking the last 3 conferences: internet in public libraries, being innovative and working smart, skills training to empower public librarians to do their jobs better. All these wonderful, very important things, we public librarians have done. Well, done, got the T-shirt and the Rubber stamp on the inside of the skull.
Seriously.  It’s like they’re not listening at all.
What this conference needs is an enema, (Sorry inappropriate Batman reference.) and a Public Librarian, other than a Director or High Poobah of the Public or Academic Library sector, presenting something practical, useful, hard skilled and accessible. And if you’re a academic librarian and reading this (obviously tortured a public librarian for the URL), and you’re thinking that what I’m suggesting is a training issue that should be done by the various interest groups and whatnot.
Well I say to you. Pooh!
Look at the ALA Conferences. Look at them.
You have academia and public librarians co –existing in peace, with presentations and workshops for all. Hell they even get authors to speak.
This is for us at this conference a gross oversight. Why aren’t we getting in Authors to speak about their works? Why aren’t we seeing publishing marketing people speaking about marketing books in the South African book market?
Why haven’t we spent some money and gotten an American Public Librarian on a plane down here, and made him share his insight and knowledge.

I’m thinking that for all the why’s in the world there are enough librarians around in the world to answer them.
And we only do that with good information and solid training, and a bit of recognition, and we can spin straw into gold.
Pity Academic librarians don’t believe us.

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