Tag Archives: tips and tricks

ALA Session: Disaster Response- Lessons Learned

This was my Saturday afternoon session. For some reason, I’m really drawn to disaster recovery. I don’t know what it is,  but I have a sneaking suspicion it has to do with the idea of being ready to respond to details on the fly, while preparing beforehand for as much as possible. I have a tendency to focus on the details that other people don’t think about (but not as much as my mom does!)- in 2007 during the Witch Creek Fires in San Diego, I was the one in the family who took pictures of how the family photos were hanging up in the hallway so as to know where they went when we put them back up, and remembered the little things (like baby books) tucked away in boxes in the garage. So, I like the nitty gritty details, and disaster planning is definitely an area where the nitty gritty becomes the big and important. Also, this last semester in my Records Management class I wrote my final paper on disaster planning, and focused on the cloud (which is also awesome because Sunday morning I went to a session on cloud management! Post here), so I had some background going into this.

I saw Jeanne Drews, the Chief of Binding and Collections Care at the Library of Congress, speak for a little bit on the work that goes into preparing the disaster plan and COOP, or continuity of operations plan for an institution as gigantic as LC. There are a couple of things about planning for LC- like the fact that it has over 140 million items in the collection (upwards of 150 mil, depending on where you look), the oldest building that is part of the LC was built in 1897, it’s got maps, books, A/V recordings, Mary Todd Lincoln’s pearls, the largest flute collection amassed in the U.S….there’s a lot of variety to take care of, so planning has to take all of that into account.

Disaster planning is disaster planning, regardless of what library you’re at. So some of the more important pieces of what I got out of her presentation was the idea of the ICS and the amount of work it takes to create a federal contract. The first, ICS, or Incident Command System, tells you how first responders talk and are trained, because as librarians, we are not going to be first on the scene- we’re going to be second. Having a crosswalk between emergency workers and those who are not would be enormously helpful when trying to communicate in a high tension situation. Think of ICS like a management system that tells people what to do who don’t normally work together. Helpful!

The second bit, how much work it takes to build a federal contract- wow. Just wow. There are loads of different rules that have to be followed, and it’s a very long process. No wonder there are so many lawyers that work for the government!


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Filed under Conference considerations, Thoughts from Allison

There’s a first time for everything

Previous winners of SILSSA’s generous scholarship have reported back from their own initiatory ALA adventures with reports highlighting the vastness of ALA’s flagship conference. Those conversations, together with ALA’s own account that the conference brings together more than 25,000 librarians, authors and exhibitors, portend a somewhat overwhelming experience for me and my fellow scholarship winners.

I’ve been attempting to prepare for a lost-at-sea feeling (to extend the nautical metaphor beyond my previous post) by seeking out fellow travelers – people I already know who are likely to travel to Anaheim for this year’s event. My hope is that a time spent with familiar faces will be a great way to A.) catch up with folks I haven’t seen since school ended this year and B.) find some mooring during this experience while still continuing to do, see, and learn all that I can.

That said, if I know you and you’ll be at the conference, give a holler! Let’s set up a coffee date. Chances are you know how to reach me. If not, I’m available on Twitter @daviserin.

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Filed under Pre-conference musings, Thoughts from Davis

Allison’s reading assignments

I love social media, and I love planning. Prepping for ALA has been the best of both worlds, because it’s allowed me to use all of my favorite internet tools to find out as much as I can about ALA before I actually get there. I’ve been following the official hashtag (#ala12), made the twitter handle @librarian_allie so I can aggregate all of the LIS world it seems into one twitter feed (my favorites: @alaannual, @LibraryJournal, @YALSA, and of course, @ALA_JobLIST), and been feverishly stalking and reading any blog that has the following words in it: ALA, Annual Conference, newbie, what to know, tips and advice, first time, planning, library student. While I’m often known as an experiential learner, this doesn’t seem to be the time or place to reinvent the wheel.

And so for your reading pleasure, and mine, a list of blog posts and web pages I’ve found to be incredibly helpful in this run up to my time at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference!

PC Sweeney’s Blog Post On How To Be Awesome At Going to Library Conferences– so useful!

Top Ten Tips by Jo Alcock on LibraryAdventures.com

Bobbi Newman’s amazing packing tips on Librarian by Day!

Free Range Librarian 35 conferences worth of tips

How to blog at a conference effectively– I promise to study this one!

Thoughts on using an iPad at a conference– I still can’t decide. I really want my own iPad, and it seems that this would be the perfect excuse to get one!

Another piece on using an iPad

Be Sexier in Person– what a great title

ALA 2012 Coupons– a good way to see what’s going to be hot at ALA

Library Journal’s excellent Guide to ALA

ALA Annual Conference 2009 Wiki– I couldn’t find a more recent one, but this is helpful too! Beware that lots of details that were right for Chicago are NOT the same for Anaheim (ex., I registered way before the advance deadline, but I pick up my badge at the conference).

ALA 2012 Scheduler – this IS the 2012 wiki! It just doesn’t look like one. Go explore it, it’s wonderful!

I’ll continue to add to this as I find new ones!


A Fashionista’s Guide to Conference Wear – I still haven’t decided what I’m wearing! This is where my San Diego self gets really conflicted with my New York City self.

The Introverted Nerd’s Conference Survival – I’m not quite an introvert, but I do appreciate having some space! I should probably plan a little down time or I might hit the roof a time or two.

A Guide from the Digital Shift – combo curated list and advice!


Filed under Pre-conference musings, Thoughts from Allison