"[We] discussed who had learned to drive on a tractor [answer: almost everyone, including me]"

Well, the conference is over for another year!  We finished off the joint SLA-MLA conference with a great social event at the Cathedral Village Free House where I was finally able to meet Jessamyn West.

Well, that's not quite true – I've “met” her before but this was the first time meeting her in person.  Since long before I became a librarian, I've been reading Jessamyn's posts on MetaFilter and librarian.net.  I first made official contact with her while in library school (I tried to bring her in as a “Lunch Bucket” speaker but wasn't able to pull it off…one of my great regrets of my time at FIMS) and have occasionally been in contact since then. 

Jessamyn wrote a bit about her time in Regina on her personal blog (which is where the title of this post comes from) and highlighted the presentation given by Sabina about the BC Evergreen initiative on librarian.net.  Very cool! 

Saskatchewan public libraries had a massive project underway during the past year to create a similar province-wide library system but didn't receive funding in the most recent provincial budget.  The project is still moving forward but in a modified form.  I don't know if we'll use an open ILS like BC has but I hope so.  Perhaps the lack of government funding may turn out to be a blessing in disguise if it encourages the participants to more seriously consider the open source route. 

I'd seen a presentation by Sabina's boss on the BC experience during a meeting of the Saskatchewan Single Integrated Library System project late last year so decided to skip her presentation for one on “open” libraries by Patricia Moore from U of S (who happens to be in the background of the photo below.) 

(And as an aside, my preference is conferences where similarly themed presentations don't overlap so you can hit all the “technology” ones in a row or all the “management” ones or whatever without being forced to choose between two similar ones.)

One really good point by Pat was that we have to shift the perception of open source software and technology as somehow inferior to its commercial counterparts.  “Open source is essentially peer-reviewed software and if that's the gold standard for the journals we supply in our libraries, it should be the gold standard for the technology that we utilize too.” 

What else?  Jessamyn's presentation on “Towards Open Libraries” was excellent – full of humour and insight into the current trends in librarianship and seemed to be very well received by the crowd.  She usually puts slides and notes from her presentations on librarian.net – the Saskatchewan one isn't up as of this writing but I assume it will be eventually.

I think Pace enjoyed meeting Jessamyn too! 

[Edit: I see that Jessamyn added some of her own photos from her Regina visit to Flickr.  Shea's quote upon seeing the following photo: “You don't even look that drunk.” Me: “It was early…”]

Comments 8

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    She's, like, a celebrity in the library world. And she kissed Pace! Did you get her to autograph something?
    (I'm not even being facetious).
    As for Open Source: from your blog to SK's ears. It would be great to use a system which addresses so many, er, flaws of the current system. But I have to say, the scuttlebutt around SPL is that it won't be considered because it doesn't come with tech support. There are only 3 companies or products in consideration for SPL's new ILS, because that's all that exists (?) and I don't think any are open source. Problem being that we *have* to make the change by Spring 2009 because that's when our current DRA system expires, and they stop providing any tech support for it because it's discontinued. Or something like that. Whereas the rest of the province has more time to figure out which system it might collectively use.
    But maybe if most of Saskatchewan is using the same system, and it works, then in another 20 years when SPL has to upgrade to another new system, we'll join the rest of the province!

    Posted 05 May 2008 at 6:04 am
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    So wish I could have been there and not crashed out sick on my couch! I was really looking forward to the conference and that ILS session was one on my agenda. Any other sessions stick out for you? Love the photo of Pace and Jessamyn.
    Hope to see you soon.
    Susan S.

    Posted 06 May 2008 at 12:48 am
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    No autograph but I did pick up her bill for supper (and got a picture of the bill!) so maybe that counts? (Of course, Sabina picked up my tab so I think I came out way ahead!)
    I thought it might be weird meeting a real-life (er, virtual life) celebrity but Jessamyn was completely cool and normal (well, as normal as a librarian can be!)
    Yeah, I hear you on the SPL scuttlebutt. I get LOTS of details via work (my boss was co-chair of the SILS project) but can't post much here. I'll tell you everything I know over a beer whenever you manage to make it to Regina! :0
    I do think it's a generational thing in a lot of ways – our generation (and younger) just accepts open source in a way that people who've spent careers dealing with vendors don't. One isn't necessarily better than the other but we each come at it with a particular bias that we have to acknowledge.

    Posted 06 May 2008 at 1:07 am
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    Yeah, heard you were sick (sat with Rian at one session and had a good visit with Robin at the registration desk. I was actually talking to her when Jessamyn rolled in so I was doing the “do I introduce myself? Leave her alone? Will she think I'm a stalker if I'm waiting at the desk when she arrives?” thing while talking distractedly to Robin.)
    My favourite session was the one on the process the Winnipeg Public Library went through to do their recent $21 million dollar renovation and upgrade. I don't know why – I just love that stuff because it brings together so many elements of librarianship – community outreach, library design, partnerships, etc. etc.
    Let us know when you're better and we'll connect.

    Posted 06 May 2008 at 1:30 am
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    how AWESOME is jessamyn?
    i met her in february when she came to mcgill.
    such a fun person – and the pic of pace rocks. he's had a brush with fame and he doesn't even know it!

    Posted 06 May 2008 at 8:52 pm
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    I had a really really great time in Regina, thanks so much for being gracious hosts. Finally put my slides up if anyone wants to see them.

    Posted 11 May 2008 at 9:56 pm
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    Jessamyn is extremely cool and meeting her in person only confirmed that. You often hear about celebrities and how disappointing it is to meet them in real life. This was definitely not the case here. (I think the fact that it's a sort of weird, niche celebrity means she's less likely to “go Hollywood”.)

    Posted 24 May 2008 at 8:18 am
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks for letting me know. Once again, it was great to finally meet you in person. Hopefully, we'll be able to reconnect again soon!

    Posted 24 May 2008 at 8:21 am

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