August 7, 2012

And then I went to Chicago... Part 2

Monday at SLA I was finally able to breathe a bit, although the morning kicked off early again with the PAM Astronomy Roundtable at 7:30am. Thank heavens for strong coffee! It was a great session, and having no projector really challenged the speakers - they did brilliantly! (I must admit, Lance's "slides" were one of my favorites.)

Chris and I talking culture.
Photo by The Photo Group, 2012.
Then I dashed off to the Fellows and Rising Stars Roundtable, where I was paired with Rising Star Chris Zammarelli. We decided to talk about culture in libraries, where culture is defined as "the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular group." Chris works for the Department of State, and as such works with libraries around the world, in embassies and out, and one of the things they must be very aware of is the local culture - societal, religious, ethnic, etc. He talked a bit about how that impacts his job, and how he deals with working with people worldwide who are often in different time zones. I talked about a different type of culture - that of the scientists and engineers I work with. Each group has a common language, habits, rituals, and expressions - and they are NOT the same, and are often in conflict. I'm in the middle, acting almost as an anthropologist and translator, to understand and bridge the differences between the two groups. I've had to learn the best way to get them what they want and need, how they search for things - basically, become bilingual.  The takeaway I offered was get to know the culture of your user groups, and integrate into them - then the users will trust you and see you as part of their group. This benefits everyone!

Happy 40th Anniversary, PAM!
After the great Q&A session at the roundtable was over, I headed for the PAM Business Meeting, where (amongst a great many other things) we started celebrating PAM's 40th Anniversary. I was in charge of the souvenir lapel pins, and it was a delight to pass them out to members! (We also had an excellently themed Daily Retreat, courtesy of IOP.) During the following INFO-EXPO time, I was finally able to meet the other members of the Online Content Advisory Committee face-to-face, and I'm looking forward to some of the things we have planned for the rest of the year.

American West Chapters Reception
Monday wrapped up with a couple of social events - first up was the American West Chapters Reception, at the Newberry Library, where I proudly represented the Arizona Chapter (and did a turn at the welcome tables). What a lovely library, and I really enjoyed the piano player - he so clearly was enjoying himself! Then I moseyed off to the PAM Open House, where AIP gave us a beautiful cake (see above) as part of our 40th Anniversary celebrations.

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