Know up front that I alternate between amazement and criticism of communication technologies. And, my peers evidently agree. So as I report back to you about the Virtual Public Library Association (PLA) Conference, we bounce from “Wow, our panel members are all over the country during this presentation too,” to “The sound is just awful,” and “Why isn’t there streaming video?” However, the topic selection & panel format for the workshops were perfect for this venue. General interest subjects full of in-the-trenches content provided by experts in the field. Keep this in mind as you consider a full day of online learning. A full-day is a very different intellectual commitment than a one-hour webinar.
The real power of the conference emerged in the group learning. Participants from varied libraries gathered at one of the five hosting sites to “attend” together. The shared experience enriched the learning by sparking conversations centered on Delaware libraries and patrons; the idea exchange was huge! And of course, the informal learning that occurs when dedicated individuals congregate almost always results in better service for customers. I heard discussions on everything from speedier ways to get items on the shelves to programs for 20-somethings to library collection building. A special thank you to the staff at the Lewes and Laurel public libraries for including me in this most gratifying adventure.