Jessamyn West's Endnote Presentation from the SLA-MLA Conference

Jessamyn passed along word that she's got both the speaking notes and the slides from her presentation at the recent Sask Library Association-Manitoba Library Association joint conference online (good thing she has the speaking notes up – she uses that minimalistic “one photo, one caption” style for her presentations so you might not get much out of just the slides.)

I have to say it's been interesting to ask people what they thought of her presentation over the last couple weeks. 

I'm a bit naive but every time I ask, I expect the person to be similarly enamoured and, like me, think “yeah.  Yeah!  That's it.  That's what it's all about.  Whoo-hooo!” (or something along those lines anyhew. )

Instead, I've heard from a few people who were underwhelmed or even disappointed by the presentation. 

I hate to generalize but so far, this division has broken down  completely along generational lines – older librarians I ask who weren't very impressed found the presentation meandering, off-point, etc. etc.  Younger and/or newer librarians found the presentation engaging, exciting and inspirational.

This isn't just about a conference closing presentation though.  Instead, it embodies a generational divide that is causing a lot of tension within our profession in general.  On one side, you (tend to) have younger, technology-focused, cutting-edge, “just do it” new librarians.  On the other, you have more hierarchy-based, old-school, cautious “voice of experience” librarians. 

(I hasten to add that there are older boomer librarians updating their Facebook profiles from their Blackberries and their are curmudgeonly new, young librarians who think Web 2.0 was the sub-title of the second Spiderman movie.  I also admit to having had more than one sleepness night in the past year wondering if I'll acquire some or all of the traits I currently find so frustrating as I move forward in my library career? And whether this is necessarily such a bad thing?)

Anyhow, in my mind, Jessamyn's presentation did not suck (“was not sub-optimal” to use her suggested terminology substitution for the word that we X'ers do tend to over-use way too often!) but it apparently did not always reach the people that it should have either.

Comments 2

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Wow, interesting feedback.
    It's really difficult to try to do some “big picture” sorts of talks to a group of people you dont know well. I do sometimes get the “meandering” critique, and I wonder if it's that I'm making a bunch of implicit associations that more people probably would prefer to be EXPLICIT as well as talking about trendy stuff generally.
    Most of the time I'm happier doing talks on specific topics because it's a lot easier to both be the “voice of experience” at the same time as you can make some larger generalizations about trends and etc. I wonder how you can successfully reach both of those groups?

    Posted 12 May 2008 at 2:54 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Well, the other thing is that you'll never make everybody happy no matter what you present or how you present it. You could have Melvil Dewey himself, risen from the grave to speak and someone would have to complain that he didn't have the foresight to designate a classification number for books on Web 2.0.

    Posted 24 May 2008 at 8:14 am

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: