When economic times are tough staff or professional development can be one of the first things to go. It's a bummer because just when many library staff most need new skills or support from their colleagues, resources just aren't as readily available to ensure that they have what they need to meet new challenges in their work. It's so important to find cost-effective ways to connect - to share what we're facing, what we're learning, and how we're coping.
WebJunction's first online conference is happening next week on February 9 & 10. The conference theme is "Technology Essentials" and there are five sessions with fabulous speakers lined up for each day. Recently, ALA TechSource interviewed our conference organizers, the incredible Sharon Streams and Jennifer Peterson. I tell you these people that I work with are crazy awesome, btw. In their interview, I was struck by their perfect description of the goals and purpose of the conference:
The goal is to provide an affordable and accessible venue for library staff to share practical and timely solutions for their needs! Now more than ever, we need to band together to solve problems, and that we recognize that attending an in-person conference is completely impractical for many library staff. Looking at how online programming has changed over the past five years, I think we’re in for an exciting time of online conferences!
The full interview is great - exploring trends and topics in online conference planning and attendance, but also the reasons why we might be seeing more of these down the line. I don't ever think that online connections will take the place of the benefits of in-person meetings or face-to-face interactions. But when we just can't get to see each other (for whatever reason, but cost is obviously a big one) this is one way we can try and connect anyway.
Please pass the word on to anyone you think might enjoy or benefit from these free online sessions. We look forward to sharing how our first online conference goes.