reflections on LITA 2008

This was the first conference I have attended in many years where I did not know hardly any of the other attendees. Aside from my two colleagues and three other attendees, I had little more than a passing conversation with no one else at the conference prior to my arrival in Cincinnati. So, the professional network re-connection aspect was not as prominent for me as it has been at other events. Unfortunately, my shyness also kicked in, which meant I was not as effective in building new connections as I could have been.

The hotel was impressive. The Hilton Netherland Plaza is a historic building in downtown Cincinnati. It opened in 1931 and is a National Historic Landmark, which means that despite the renovations, they have attempted to preserve as much of the original features as possible, including the impressive French Art Deco architecture and art in the main meeting rooms and restaurants. I somehow ended up in a room on the top floor (29th), and it even had a lovely view of the city rather than the typical office building exterior wall view that is most common in downtown hotels.

The sessions I attended were mostly informative, and I particularly liked the Five-minute Madness format — eliminated a lot of the stuff that irritates me in most presentations. However, in general, I was not as impressed with the sessions nor did I take away as much from them as I have from LITA sessions at ALA Annual & Midwinter. I’m not sure if it was the mix of people involved or the presentation topics, but it was a little disappointing. Unfortunately, my cold had kicked into high gear by Sunday, so I ended up skipping the last concurrent session and closing keynote in favor of walking around downtown Cincinnati for some fresh air and sunlight.

I’m glad I attended LITA Forum, because I have been wanting to go for several years now. However, I think that in the future my presence there will be only an occasional thing, most likely when it occurs in locations within driving distance. The technical and interactive side of librarianship that interests me is mostly covered by the sessions at Computers in Libraries, so I think I should expand my horizons to other aspects of librarianship with my valuable and precious conference attendance time and resources.