November 21, 2017

Uniquely Hospitable | Charleston Conference Preview 2014

ljx141001webcharleston The Charleston Conference is unique! Since its founding by Katina Strauch in 1980 it has provided professional enrichment, knowledge, and open discussion to thousands of librarians, information specialists, and vendors primarily focused on academic and research libraries. There is a huge array of programs, panels, and speakers, plus days of informal inter­actions in which librarians at all levels and vendors talk about their work, problems, innovations, and best practices in a charming setting, redolent with Southern hospitality.

From her position as assistant dean for technical services and collection development at the College of Charleston Libraries, SC, Strauch also founded and edits the journal Against the Grain. Don’t miss the chance to hear the irrepressible Strauch as she welcomes everyone again to this 34th Charleston Conference (Thurs., Nov. 6, 8 a.m. and Opening Remarks Fri., Nov. 7, 8 a.m.).

The focus of the conference is always “Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition” for academic and research librarians and the publishers and vendors that serve them. This year’s theme is “The Importance of Being Earnest,” a motif that echoes throughout the offerings. To attend, register for $550 until October 17, or thereafter for $780. The fee buys access to the Vendor Showcase (Wed., Nov. 5, 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m.) to meet with reps from more than 90 publishers and suppliers; all sessions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; and the annual conference Reception (Thurs., Nov. 6, 7–9 p.m.). There are, of course, endless networking opportunities, including a Happy Hour mixer during the poster sessions on Thursday and Friday.

A place to connect

Charleston 2014 – Coming Attractions
Not making it to this year’s Charleston conference? We’ve got you covered. Join us on October 9th for a free webcast as representatives from the Charleston Conference, Ex Libris, and Library Journal offer a sneak peek at some of the topics we expect to see trending at the 2014 Charleston Conference. Register Now!

Librarians and vendors who have been to Charleston love the informality of the gathering, its broad range of programs that go far beyond books and acquisitions, and the easy opportunity to consider all of the “issues and pressures” that libraries face. One Charleston regular loves “the laid-back, friendly atmosphere” and that everyone seems “excited to engage with their peers.” Add to that the setting: there is no other place like historic downtown Charleston, a tourist and foodie destination and a huge attraction for the conference.

The planners are proud that the meeting brings in everyone “from paraprofessional staff to library directors; from admin staff to CEOs; from the ‘little dogs’ to the ‘big dogs,’ ” and say, “That’s the way we like it!” They call the result “a collegial gathering” in which all those types “discuss the same issues in a nonthreatening and friendly environment.”

Programs galore

More than 500 speakers will be featured, as you can tell from the full schedule.

The small sampling of sessions LJ editors plan to attend include the plenary session (Thurs., Nov. 6, 9 a.m.) to hear what Tim Collins (president, EBSCO Information Services) and Meg White (executive director technical services, Rittenhouse Book Distributors) have to tell librarians. White led the development of the company’s ebook initiative—the R2 Digital Library—and we’re interested in what both have to say about the future of ebooks in libraries.

We won’t miss the Hyde Park Debate—Resolved: Wherever Possible, Library Collections Should Be Shaped by Patrons, Instead of by Librarians, a Charleston Conference tradition conducted under Oxford Union rules (Fri., Nov. 8, 8 a.m.). In favor is LJ columnist Rick Anderson (associate dean for scholarly resources and collections, Marriott Lib., Univ. of Utah). He is opposed by David Magier (associate university librarian for collection development, Princeton Univ.). The audience will vote on the resolution both before and after the debate and floor conversation.

Preceding the full conference is the Charleston Seminar: Introduction to Data Curation, focused on this newest specialization for librarians and archivists now collecting digital data and needing new knowledge on how to acquire and manage data, engage with data creators, connect data to published research, and facilitate new forms of research through data use. Featured are two University of North Carolina experts: ­Jonathan Crabtree (assistant director for archives and IT, Odum Inst. for Research in Social Science), who revamped the institute’s technology infrastructure, and Christopher (Cal) Lee (associate professor, SILS), whose research in digital curation took him into the professionalization of the work, providing tools and methods for professional practice.

On Wednesday (9 a.m.–noon) we’ll probably shell out the $199 to attend a half-day preconference on Library as Publisher: Details, Practice, and Potential Outcomes to address how many libraries are now becoming publishers, whether by incorporating the existing university press into the library’s structure or launching alternative publishing endeavors such as open access journals, open textbooks, and even monographs. Organized by the Society for Scholarly Publishing, the session includes an impressive panel of experts on this new role for the library, including Maria Bonn (GSLIS, Univ. of Illinois), ­Byron Laws (VP, vPrompt eServices), Sarah Lippincott (Library Publishing Coalition), Aaron McCullough (editorial director, Michigan Publishing), and Sara Rouhi (product sales manager, Altmetric).

Later, we’ll go to hear Helene Williams (Univ. of Washington iSchool) talk about Selectors of the Future: What Should (or Can) They Learn in an MLIS Program? She asks, “What training for collection development and management needs to happen in MLIS programs? How much can be taught or must simply be learned on the job?”

At From Course Reserves…to Course Reversed? The Library’s Changing Role in Providing Textbook Content (Thurs., Nov. 6, 4:30–5:30 p.m.) we’ll hear Charles Lyons (electronic resources librarian, SUNY Buffalo) on his library’s pioneering work with commercial textbook publishers and Bob Nardini (VP, product development, Ingram Coutts) on how to shape a new landscape for course content in higher ed that includes academic librarians, commercial publishers, university presses, bookstore managers, ebook aggregators, textbook platform providers, and book vendors. Participants will describe their projects and vision for textbooks (e.g., open access texts and commercial publishing, library provision of textbooks and bookstores, library publishers and university presses, etc.). These changes have led librarians into new alliances and sometimes into conflict with bookstores, commercial publishers, university presses, and aggregators.

We will revisit a long history of tense relations at Speaking Our Piece: Librarians and Publishers on Their Relationship in the STM Market (Fri., Nov. 7, 2:15–3 p.m.) to hear what prompted M. Kathleen Kern (librarian, Univ. of Illinois) to interview librarians and publishing sales and marketing people on the front lines of the STM information marketplace about what makes negotiations successful and strategies for working together to get the best for their organizations. On Friday at 3:15, LJ’s own senior editor, news and features, Meredith Schwartz will join Mitchell Davis of BiblioBoard; Tim Rogers, executive director of NC Live; and Eleanor Cook, assistant director for discovery and technology services, East Carolina University, on SELF-e™ 101: A Lesson for Academic Libraries in Connecting Self-Published Authors and Readers.

These few selections highlight just a few of the programs scheduled from dawn to dark and don’t cover the rich rewards a librarian or vendor at any level will find in Charleston. It has long been a favorite conference for nearly all who attend, a place where all hatchets are buried and conflicts open to friendly negotiation as that charming city and that creatively planned and organized get-together educate, entertain, and empower.

This article was published in Library Journal's October 1, 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

John N. Berry III About John N. Berry III

John N. Berry III (jberry@mediasourceinc.com) is Editor-at-Large, LJ. Berry joined the magazine in 1964 as Assistant Editor, becoming editor-in-Chief in 1969 and serving in that role until 2006.

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