In response to the final project/conference brainstorming chat we had today, here’s a general sketch of what I had in mind for a conference, as well as the questions used in the CFP for the #LIBRESILIENCE conference.
Mid-late July or early August
Building a Better Future (or Building a More Human Future?)
Multi-day web conference. (@Jennbruneau, you mentioned more collaborative webinar tools out there than Zoom - can you drop those into the thread here?)
I initially had this idea of a Solidarity Week. We could also use a tool like Slack to facilitate/enable further discussion and share more resources, and hopefully build more lasting community & relationships.
If we did it over the course of a week, could we get 2-3 really awesome keynotes that would bring people not only from libraries but other domains in as well?
Maybe we could do 20-25 sessions with a mix of LFI cohort presentations, general CFPs, and specific asks to likeminded folks. We could leave in room for the unconference idea, and to give people some kind of means of socializing, perhaps? (unless that’s too corny)
Library advocacy, relevance, partnerships. Grappling with and reframing the current public image of libraries and library staff.
Anything in the broad libraries fighting surveillance/traditional LFP domain or about some of the extra-pertinent topics from this current cohort: workplace automation and surveillance, health care surveillance, shifting to remote work, etc.
Dis/misinformation, the threat to democracy, the threat to the current election.
Managing and navigating bureaucracy during a crisis.
Collective action/solidarity during a crisis.
Productive responses for reconfiguring public spaces and resources (mutual aid, 3D printing/sewing, WiFi buses, etc).
Imagining the sort of professional org/support system we want and need after/during all of this.
Call for Proposals form (obviously we’d want to write some narrative/prompt to preface this, which I’d love to do collaboratively):
Your email address:
Your location (asked to ensure geographic diversity):
What is your gender? (asked to ensure gender diversity):
What is your race/ethnicity? (asked to ensure racial diversity):
Talk length (we gave the option of 15, 30, 60 min):
In 1000 characters or less, write a proposal for your talk. Focus on specific audiences and takeaways.
The two tools that NELA is looking into for a virtual event are Tame and Hopin. I will know more about them after tomorrow’s Conference Committee meeting.
Just a thought on the time frame- August would be better for public librarians generally. I know a lot of libraries in at least the New England area are hoping to have some sort of services going again in July (and it’s really looking like it won’t be any earlier than that) and will be engaged in some kind of new Summer Reading programs that are virtual or based on pick up services (if that’s safe). July might be a little crazy as book drops reopen, materials delivery starts again, etc. etc. Then again, we may still be trapped in our houses, so who knows…
Will think on this more tonight and update after our conference meeting.
I want to propose the dates of sometime between August 10th and 14th. Maybe even every day, considering that we probably don’t want it to last all day every day. I think a max of four hours a day is plenty.
I think that @Callan’s proposed topics are great and I think with five days, we could make each day themed with a topic, maybe combining the productive responses/navigating bureaucracy tracks (I see them as having some overlap) and combining the advocacy/solidarity track as well.
I think this could be really values-driven and also practical.
In terms of the infrastructure we’d need, Zoom has a webinar feature for pro accounts (which we have) but it’s an additional $40/month.
I also think we’ll want to have some kind of basic website with conference info where we share the recordings later (we can use the LFP Vimeo account to host the recordings).
For right now, it would be great to get a sense of who wants to present during this conference. I am happy to give a talk. I think we should make them 20-30 minutes each with breaks in between, just for everyone’s sanity.
Who else wants to present on one of the above topics at this conference? Who has ideas for who we should invite to present?
I’m happy to present but am equally if not more happy to moderate/work on infrastructural stuff. Re: that, the good folks of EveryLibrary are letting me use their Easywebinar account for the conference I’m running on Monday in exchange for the emails from folks who RSVP. I was comfortable with this tradeoff because I believe in what they’re doing. I wonder if they’d let us do the same for an LFP conference, provided we’re comfortable with that exchange.
I know of a few people at Olin who could be interesting to tap for this (provided they’re interested as they tend to disappear into the ether over the summer). I’d think we should start with the current and past LFI cohorts and give them first dibs on putting in proposals, then expand the ask beyond that.
Let’s pick an actual day/week for this as soon as possible so we can reach out to folks and determine their availability to speak.
I still like the day of a week-long event. I was wondering, would it make sense to set up some kind of way for people to meet/connect outside of the sessions, like Slack, Discourse, or Canvas? Just to help continue the discussion and give people a place to solidify connections.
I think we should identify themes for each day as we’ve discussed a few times now. Here’s a very quick stab at it.
Importance of Privacy
Impacts on Democracy
Advocacy & Organizing
A Vision for Something Else
I took a bunch of steps to minimize zoombombing with the conference I’m running tomorrow and I’m yet to see how it turns out, but the main points are keeping an eye on the attendee list, making people go through more than one hoop to get a registration link, not posting the link to the actual conference “room” anywhere publicly, and using a tool like Zoom’s webinar feature or Easywebinar where trolls are confined to a chat channel that you can turn off.
I’ll have more learnings from the conference after tomorrow. We have over 2200 people signed up so we’ll see how this goes, lol.
I think the themes for each day is a great idea, as it helps provide a structure for organizing the conference, but I think is also a good marketing tool. I also really like the idea of having something ‘outside’ of the sessions to promote further discussion.
I am curious to hear how your other conference went!
I really like Building a More Human Future. And I think a week long event would be killer.
I would be comfortable with putting together a talk about community mapping pre-virus and during the virus… maybe some kind of panel situation with a few different librarians who can speak to their experience and then open it up to a discussion of outreach techniques that produced positive outcomes in their communities. And what outreach even means during this time. What’s changed and what hasn’t, what works and what doesn’t, etc.
The folks at Everyday Democracy have a great activity that they run to show how community mapping actually works… but idk how/if it would translate to a virtual environment. In any case, want to give them a shout out here because they might be a good group to get involved in some capacity if we’re talking libraries and political dialog/action. Also, they taught me a lot of what I know about outreach.
Tangentially related, another thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is values-driven strategic planning–what that means during times of crisis. Slash//// what a strategic plan oriented around resilience of libraries AND ALSO resilience of our values looks like. I’m not an expert on this topic by any means, but in the next months I’ll be working with my staff and trustees to build one.
Each day has four 45-minute sessions, multiple breaks/announcements, and a long break in the middle of the day. The day doesn’t begin until 9:45 and it ends at 3 pm which seems very reasonable to me. I am going to work on coming up with some ideas for talks and panels and I’m going to start tapping each of you for either being on those panels or finding someone who will be.
The conference was an incredible success. I’m not just saying that to toot my own horn–we had about 1600 people join us on the live broadcast and hundreds more signed up for, or have since requested, access to the recordings. I have a group of volunteers helping me with captioning the videos; once that’s completed, we’ll share them widely. I had almost no technical difficulties during the day except for some minor ones at the beginning of our last presentation. We didn’t have any trolls that I could see, and considering there was up to 1K people in the room at any given time, I didn’t see a lot of bad acting. It was hard to keep up with that many participants, though, and Easywebinar doesn’t have the ability to separate out the Q+A (like Zoom Webinar does).
I love this idea and haven’t seen a lot out there on this topic, even though it’s more important than ever. I think it would be a good opportunity to both constructively criticize the traditional “outreach in libraries” narrative as well as give advice on how to do better.
This is kind of how I structured #LIBREV and I found it worked well. One of the key takeaways for me after Monday was that you should try to get some backup with moderation–I did it for 7 1/2 hours straight and it was exhausting. No way it’d be a good idea to do it for days after, so this is something we should think about, too. (I’m happy to serve as a moderator, btw.)
Should we do this within the existing LFP site? We could always build something separate and incorporate it later.
I would love for folks to contribute asap in two ways:
help us finalize a date (right now it’s mid-August. is that too late? it feels far away, but it’ll get here fast, and we don’t want to make it too close to ALA. July will be a little stretched for me because the next LFI cohort begins the first week)
add session ideas to the wiki (or say them here and I’ll add them to the wiki). if you want to present on the session, mention that, else mention who you think would be good for it
I will send a follow up email about this soon and we’ll have our next final project meeting covering conference next steps.
I’m thinking Aug. 3-7 or Aug. 10-14. I kind of like Aug. 3-7 more for some reason, maybe because it’s the first week of the month…?
The session idea I have is to get the folks who were instrumental in pushing back against the closure of Boston Public Library branches during the aftermath of the last recession to talk about their experience and strategies with those efforts. A secondary idea is to get the local Radical Reference crew that helped with the Occupy/zine library to talk about their work. Yet another one is asking Jennie Rose Halperin, who did a presentation about library commons/undercommons at #LIBREV, to expand on that talk if she’s interested.
Some other thoughts/takeaways I wanted to share re: #LIBREV - I think it would be great if we could come up with some kind of space for conference participants to connect and continue the dialog in addition to the “conference room.” The chat became pretty unmanageable with hundreds of people in it, and it was really clear that people had a lot more to say and contribute after we wrapped things up for the day. I did set up a Discourse page that we’re working on establishing community guidelines and norms for; something like that might be good, or a Slack channel or similar.
Big themes I saw people responding to/taking away from #LIBREV:
acknowledgment of the emotional/physical impact of continued stress and unreasonable expectations, and the reasons for low morale in library settings
a need for power mapping and support/community building around advocacy efforts
changing the library narrative from happy-go-lucky stories/self-congratulation of things we’re doing “right” to an actual urgent ask to change & better support us
transformative librarianship - how to fight back against information that has been shaped to benefit the ruling class and reinforce various supremacies & privilege
redefining and challenging the limits of traditional library “outreach” - what are we actually doing to welcome groups/people who have been categorically dismissed or ignored/underserved by our systems?
I have to go watch some final presentations, but I may add more to this later! And I will have the presentation videos/slides from #LIBREV up within a week or so; just working on getting the captioning/transcription done.
Just remember that 9:45am Eastern is 6:45 am Pacific. I’ve had a hard time attending a lot of things because they start SO EARLY in the morning on the West Coast. I recognize how hard it is though to find the balance.
All these ideas sound so great! I think for the academic librarians folks, it would be good to plan for nothing later than August 14th since some schools start in late-August and there’s a ramp-up to that which would pull a lot of folks away.
I really like Callan’s themes from #LIBREV. I think it would be useful to have content that supports self-care, community care, and collective action – like stuff on mindfulness, setting boundaries, trauma (Bryce Kozla gave a great talk recently on trauma-informed librarianship focused on library worker trauma rather than patron trauma), power-mapping, how to get started with advocacy, etc. Strategies that help people take back some power right now (whether it’s the power to make their well-being a priority or the ability to improve things in their workplace or communities) would be so amazing. Seeing how people have responded to Kaetrena Davis Kendrick’s low-morale talks and writings tells me we need more acknowledgement of the realities of our workplaces and strategies that make us feel empowered to improve our situations.
I’m happy to do it but don’t want to take away from someone who might want/need the opportunity more than I do, yanno? But yes, keep me in the roster. No other LFP people spoke at #LIBREV, but man, what a convergence we will be.
I also asked Olin’s public interest technology club if they might be interested in presenting something just because I think what they’re doing is great and other folks could learn from that model. But they might be pretty scarce in August, so it’s def not a done deal.
With you on Slack, I’m frigging slacked out. What I really want to do with the #LIBREV thing is use the Discourse but also have some kind of chat room. This combo was how I spent a lot of my formative years, lol, but I think it can lead to some great stuff with giving people different ways to engage. Still not sure how to facilitate it without Slack… I guess mastodon or Discord or whatever, idk.
Some stray thoughts–Good call on pushing the timing back, this is something I failed to do for #LIBREV. Just FYI, I am willing to facilitate/moderate the crap out of this thing, whether or not I end up on a panel! And last but not least, do you have any thoughts on when we should start to put out a broader call for proposals? I was thinking maybe give the LFI community dibs on the first month or so (from the email you sent today until second week of June-ish) and then put it out there and give people 3-4 weeks to respond?