>hello mobile republic – my #bclc2014 recap

My library conference experience is not vast. Nor is my comic convention experience. Both pools of knowledge are small enough that they kind of slosh together in my mind, and this year for the BC Library Conference it was even worse because Emerald City Comicon was happening the weekend while I was coming in and getting ready for BCLA. I kept having to remind myself that Kate Leth would not be at my conference.

We did get Arundhati Roy though, so that was awesome.

Conferences are weird for me. I am not a social person. I need a bunch of alone time. At BCLA though, I know people. Cool people! I talked to more people at this conference than I have in Campbell River (outside of work) in a year. It’s like I stockpile all my energy for talking to people to use in these big bursts.

I like to sit in the back of conference sessions and not do a whole lot of active participation. There’s part of me that thinks I should be more like Cynthia Ng who does excellent session notes on a lightning turnaround, but I’m not. I like to let things sit and think a while.

Catelynne Sahadath, MJ Suhonos and Mark Jordan did a great talk on open linked data, and the cool stuff we could use it for (including not paying vendors to do stuff the internet already does) at the policy level and the empathy level and it was such a great talk to hear before Myron and I did ours (user privacy chunk ebooks & DRM chunk).

I cussed far too much in our presentation, but most people seemed okay with it. If you were not okay with it, I really do apologize. I do so much work with kids where I have to be very attentive to staying very clean. But when I have an adult audience, I know I can use strong language. Then my performance mode energy kicks in and the “only say ‘fuck’ one time” recommendation kind of gets forgotten. Again. Sorry. Also sorry for the muppet arms.

I am a bad strategist as my solutions to problems tend to be workarounds, not revolutions. But that’s kind of what’s great about speaking at a conference like this, where interested people who are better at the strategic stuff can do something better with it. I realize I do like getting things out there into the world, for someone else to do something with. I do like to write. It is important. I need to do better at it.

And that’s where the Arundhati Roy closing keynote comes in. She’s a badass and a rebellious dissident and is just amazing. She talked politics and her life and how she declared herself a mobile republic. The best line of her talk, the tweet-sized bit from these two days that will stick with me because it matches up with my already extant approach to life was “Subversion is sometimes better than confrontation, no?”

It was a very good trip into the city (though I’m still a little sad I had to use them as vacation days instead of professional development days). I have webmaker things to bring back for my teen programming. I hung out with people I enjoy. And I almost got into a fight with a racist homophobic asshole publisher (though that was at trivia the day before the conference and was actually crappy).

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