The room was packed to capacity at all four of the Conversation Starter and Ignite programs I attended. These sessions are fun, diverse, and informal. At Ignite talks, presenters have five minutes and 20 slides to share a unique project or a specific passion. Presentations ranged from Twitter-length book talks to literacy for African-American male youth to spatial data practices. Conversation Starters are informal panels, where the audience and presenters can interact and talk it out. Better still, the sessions are all voted into the schedule by ALA members (and nonmembers!) before the conference begins, so the audience arrives invested and interested.
I’m still blown away by the attendance of these sessions—even at my own Conversation Starter on Monday (“Tumblarian 101: Tumblr for Libraries and Librarians”), the room was nearly full before 8 a.m. I think it’s reflective of what members are interested in—exciting, engaging discussions and ideas shared with and by librarians who may not have made it onto a full-length presentation or panel. Having now presented an Ignite (at ALA 2012) and a Conversation Starter this year, I’m looking forward to following these sessions through future conferences.
Hopefully I’ll find somewhere to sit!
KATE TKACIK is research analyst for the Bank of Montreal’s Business Research Group in Chicago.
Attendees pack in to see the “Stand Out and Be Outstanding” Conversation Starter on Saturday