Tomorrow morning, at an hour far earlier than I even want to contemplate right now, I’ll be getting on the first of three airplanes on my way to Computers in Libraries (which is actually in Arlington/Crystal City, VA, not DC, but close enough), where I’ll once again be talking about how I built a library website for $16 in chocolate.
This will likely be the last big conference I go to for some time — while Wyoming is doing quite well compared to the rest of the country, these times are still tough, and I’ve gotten to do a lot of traveling in the past year. I’d like to thank, once again, Information Today, Inc., the Salt Lake City Public Library, my own library system, and my good friends for making that possible.
If your library is, like most other libraries in the country, facing severe budget shortfalls, you may well be in despair that you will never get to go to a conference and hang out with all the cool kids. While I don’t want to diminish the fun that is and the contacts it gives you, I’d like to point out as well that while I now go to library conference to talk about our website, I built it almost entirely based on virtual contacts. The Park County Library website wouldn’t exist in its current form without Twitter and the LSW Meebo Room (and, nowadays, the LSW FriendFeed Room. I’m grateful to all the support I’ve gotten from those people, many of whom are now friends, and quite a few of whom I have still never met.
I guess what I want to say is this: if you’re reading this and thinking, “I’ll never get to go to a conference. I’ll never get to know any of those people,” don’t despair. We librarians are lucky to belong to a profession that employs the most pathologically helpful people on earth. That doesn’t mean that emailing me or posting something to the WordPress for Libraries group will automatically solve all your problems. We all have to spend a certain amount of time beating things with rocks. But if you’re willing to pick up a rock, you’ll be amazed at how many other people you can find out there banging away with you.
If I don’t know you and you’re reading this and you’ll be at Computers in Libraries, please come say hi. I’m presenting on Monday afternoon and can easily be found lobbyconning with many of my fellow Library Society of the World members for much of the rest of the time.