CiL2009, Conferences, Online Collaboration, Social Computing

Leading (and learning) up to CiL

By Jennifer | March 27th, 2009 | 2 Comments

I’m heading to Crystal City this weekend for Computers in Libraries and based on the learning I’ve done leading up to the conference, I’m really excited about attending! I’ll be presenting on Monday afternoon with 2009 Mover and Shaker, Susan Conlon, on the Continuum of Engagement, but that’s not where the story begins.

Way back in September, Janie Hermann (she’s moderating Track E at CiL btw) suggested I connect with Susan Conlon, based on my idea for a proposal. Susan has demonstrated her engaging leadership in the Princeton community through projects like the Princeton Environmental Film Festival where she leverages creative technologies to welcome all in the library community to engage and learn together.

Throughout the past 6 months, Susan and I have utilized technologies of all sorts to connect and share in the creation of this presentation. We exchanged slides, concepts and lists on email (via both work and gmail), IM and on the phone. We had to overcome technology barriers, like file size limits or Internet connectivity challenges when traveling. But every time we connected we were struck by the learning we were doing in the process of exploring together, the topic of engagement. We celebrated when the light bulbs were going off at the same time, when we discovered synergy in our experiences and when we uncovered solutions to some of the engagement barriers we had encountered in our respective work environments.

But that’s not where the story ends. Leveraging an additional technology, I uploaded our final presentation deck yesterday to WJ’s Conference Presentations page. This morning I received an email from Sheila Kearns, one of my favorite “WJ engagers,” mentioning the presentation deck. Sheila told me recently that she has one of her browsers’ homepages set to her “My WebJunction,” which is probably how she noticed I had created a new document on the site (I’m one of her WJ “friends” and so my activity on the site shows up in her “updates”). She kindly pointed out a typo and also gave me props for the deck and the concept of “community resource stewards”. But most importantly, she directed me to a new resource related to the topic of our presentation. She said she had first seen the concept of “community technology stewards” in the book project called Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities by Etienne Wenger, Nancy White, and John D. Smith. This work is new to me, so I was very excited she mentioned it before CiL so I could add it to the presentation!

I’m sure there are many other stories “behind the presentation” for all the sessions on the CiL program. I think it’s truly exciting to be collaborating with such an enormous knowledge base within our profession, and hope we can be good “conference stewards” both as presenters and as attendees, and share back all our learning with colleagues who aren’t able to attend.

If you are heading to CiL, please be sure to add Michael Porter‘s and my sessions to your calendar and track us down. For those who will not be attending, stay tuned to BlogJunction for updates on our learning!