Magazine article Information Outlook

Magic That Never Wears Off: SLA Annual Conferences Are Much More Than the Sum of Their Parts, and SLA 2012 Promises to Be No Exception

Magazine article Information Outlook

Magic That Never Wears Off: SLA Annual Conferences Are Much More Than the Sum of Their Parts, and SLA 2012 Promises to Be No Exception

Article excerpt

As I write this column, nearly 30 information professionals are sitting in the main conference room at SLA's headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. They're here to take a full-day course titled "Teaching Others about Copyright," part of SLA's certificate program in copyright. Tomorrow, they'll return to take another full-day certificate course, "Copyright Compliance and Management." The day after, some of them (plus other local SLA members) will take a tour of the U.S. Copyright Office led by Lesley Ellen Harris, who also teaches the certificate programs.

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Although distance learning has become common in recent years SLA's popular Click University Webinars are a testament to that trend--classroom instruction still has a place in professional development, and I suspect it always will. A face-to-face setting creates an environment that encourages interaction between students and instructors, and that interaction continues during breaks and after the class ends. Many course attendees gain knowledge and make professional connections that continue to serve them throughout their careers.

This and other advantages of face-to-face instruction will be amplified at SLA's 2012 Annual Conference & INFO-EXPO in Chicago. With dozens of sessions on topics ranging from buying and selling content to thinking strategically to "reinventing" library skills, the conference will provide attendees with plenty of opportunities to learn from, and share ideas with, expert presenters, fellow information professignals, vendors, and even students (who sometimes ask "obvious" questions that aren't always so obvious!). Discussions that begin in classrooms will spill out into hallways, continue at networking events, become more nuanced in the INFO-EXPO hall, and gain fresh momentum over drinks and dinner. Some discussions will continue long after the conference ends, finding new life at chapter meetings, on discussion lists, and through SLA's social media. …

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