Well that didn’t take long. Nothing like getting half way through a self-imposed challenge before completely folding like a cheap tent. I could spew out some wonderful excuses but facts are facts. Then of course when I really wanted to post this week, while I was at a library conference, I couldn’t because of no free wi-fi. Okay, so that probably passes for an excuse. But its a good one. Because while I was at ILA’s (Illinois Library Association not the International Longshoremen’s Association) Annual Conference I came to the realization that library conferences would be way more awesome if there were more like comic conventions.
Library conventions need more cos playing!
No, not 50 Nancy Pearls running around. Show some creativity. Most library conventions come down hard on the side of professional. While I never balk at the chance to pull out my super cute wear that I deem too fancified for everyday use, others seem to follow their everyday uniforms. This is our chance to show off not just our professional accomplishments but our unique personalities. And where’s the librarian’s Masquerade? There could be different categories, favorite fictional characters, best dead author impersonation, Harry Potter.
More entertainment panels!
Not saying run out and get low-rent celebrities but what about mixing things up with the presentations. Conferences offer a unique opportunity to share ideas and best practices but sometimes the presentations can be dry and one-way conversations. There should be a wider mix of types of presentations and dear lawd, less POWER POINT! Some hot eye candy wouldn’t hurt either.
I want to take a second to give a big hell yeah to the ILA Video Shootout team. They encouraged con goers this week to shoot and edit videos from scratch. It probably got some people out of their comfort zone but also gave them hardcore skills they can take away. (Why didn’t I make one? See above various excuses. Lame. I Know.) Library cons need more of these active, rather than passive activities to get people mixing, mingling and gasp, playing!
My C2E2 peeps are already gearing up for our third year of rocking the McCormick Center, nerd style. There is year round anticipation. While some library cons attract that kind of dedication for many it just inspires jealousy and heartache. Library conventions aren’t cheap. It’s the sad fact that it’s cost prohibited for many people to attend the bigger library cons unless they get help from their organizations. They are also, oddly, on weekdays. I understand there’s probably some discounting and flexibility in scheduling a conference during the week but it also limits attendance to those that can/afford to take the time off their jobs.
So what are some ways we can get library cons up to comic con standards? First, make them cheaper. Second, make the presentation selection process as simple and transparent as possible. Third, encourage cosplay. Fourth hold smaller, informal events (think Librarian Bar Crawl, Kidlit Drink Nights) throughout the year to keep interest and excitement up. Fifth, incorporate more active participation like video contests. Sixth, invite more eye candy. Yum.
So let’s be even more like the real library superheroes we are and we need right now!