So, last week I shared some of my observations about ACRL 2013. At that point, I was planning to make this follow up post about individual sessions - highlighting the good, the bad, the tools. While I did catch a few dud presentations, I also attended a lot of great ones - for instance, the one where the presenter was talking about using Google Earth as a language learning tool was particularly fascinating. However, the idea of talking about each session I attended no longer seems appropriate. Maybe it's because I went to and presented at LOEX in the meantime (yes, I know - too many conference presentations). Maybe it's just laziness. Regardless of the reason, I think I'd rather talk about how I approach attending sessions instead of the sessions themselves.
You see, at this stage of my career, I've done and seen and thought about a lot of things in this field. Not trying to affect a "been there, done that" attitude, but ten years is a long-ish time. I do still encounter sessions that cover topics with which I'm completely unfamiliar, but that's fairly rare these days. Instead, I usually range between having some awareness to having lots and lots of knowledge on the topic being discussed. Does that stop me from going? Well, it used to, but it doesn't anymore.
Now I go hoping to pick up a few new tidbits, but also hoping to be able to add to the conversation. Here are some recent examples:
- At a workshop about assessing an information literacy program, I brought up a rubric I created at my last job.
- At a presentation about vocal techniques, I admitted to having had years of voice lessons.
- And when the plenary speaker asked a question at LOEX, I squooshed my nervousness down and answered.
All of this is to say that I no longer go to sessions hoping to get something out of it. Not in a overweening, know-it-all, show-off-y kind of way, but but nowadays I mostly go to sessions hoping to give something back, hoping to add to the conversation. How about you?