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LITA Bloggers Reflect on LITA Forum 2015

LITA bloggers, L-R: Whitni, Lindsay, Brianna, Bill, Michael, Jacob
LITA bloggers, L-R: Whitni, Lindsay, Brianna, Bill, Michael, Jacob

Connections – Michael Rodriguez

Several LITA bloggers, including myself, attended our first-ever LITA Forum in November 2015. For me, the Forum was a phenomenal experience. I had a great time presenting on OCLC products, open access integration, and technology triage, with positive, insightful audience questions and feedback. The sessions were excellent, the hotel was amazing, the Minneapolis location was perfect, but best of all, LITA was a superb networking conference. With about 300 attendees, it was small enough for us to meet everyone, but large enough to offer diverse perspectives. I got to meet dozens of people, including LITA bloggers Bill, Jacob, and Whitni, whom I knew via LITA or via Twitter but had never met IRL. I got to reenergize old comradeships with Lindsay and Brianna and finally meet the hard-working LITA staff, Mark Beatty and Jenny Levine. I formed an astonishing number of new connections over breakfast, lunch, dinner, and water coolers. Our connections were warm and revitalizing and will be with us lifelong. Thanks, LITA!

To Name – Jacob Shelby

LITA Forum 2015 was my first professional library conference to attend, and I will say that it was an amazing experience. The conference was just the right size! I was fortunate to meet some awesome, like-minded people who inspired me at the conference, and who continue to inspire me in my daily work. There were so many great sessions that it was a real challenge choosing which ones to go to! My particular favorite (if I had to choose only one) was Mark Matienzo’s keynote: To Hell With Good Intentions: Linked Data, Community and the Power to Name. As a metadata and cataloging professional, I thought it was enlightening to think about how we “name” communities and to consider how we can give the power to name and tell stories back to the communities. In all, I made connections with some wonderful professionals and picked up some great ideas to bring back to my library. Thanks for an awesome experience, LITA!

Game On – Lindsay Cronk

A conference is an investment for many of us, and so we always look for ROI. We fret about costs and logistics. We expect to be stimulated by and learn from speakers and presentations. We hope for networking opportunities. At LITA Forum, my expectations and hopes were met and exceeded. Then I got to go to Game Night. What better way to reward a conferenced-out brain than with a few rounds of Love Letter and a full game of Flash Point? I had a terrific time talking shop and then just playing around with fellow librarians and library tech folks. It reminded me that play and discovery are always touted as critical instructional tools. At this point I’m going to level a good-natured accusation- LITA Forum gamified my conference experience, and I loved it. I hope you’ll come out and play next year, LITA Blog readers!

No, get YOUR grub on! – Whitni Watkins

As someone on the planning committee for LITA Forum, I spent a decent amount of time doing my civic duty and making sure things were in place. After a couple of years of conference heavy attending, I learned that you cannot do it all and come out on top. I was selective this year, I attended a few sessions that peaked my interest and spent a few hours discussing a project I was working on in the Poster session. I’ve learned that conferences are best for networking, for finding people with the same passion to help you hack things in the library (and not so library) world. My fondest memory of this year’s LITA forum was the passionate discussion we had during one of our networking dinners on the hierarchy in libraries, how we can break it, and why it is important to do so. Also, afterwards meeting up as LITA Bloggers and hanging out with each other IRL. A great group of people behind the screen, happy to be a part of it.

Did you attend this year’s LITA Forum? What was your experience like?

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