Commenting As A Small Act Of Courage

Today is the first big day of activity here in Seattle for ACRL. The first big piece of news that greeted attendees is that the opening keynote speaker Naomi Klein was ill and would not be at ACRL. But the conference organizers provided an excellent speaker just the same. Rushworth Kidder gave a great talk on what he called our “ethics recession”. He told the audience about the importance of making moral courage an important part of our daily lives, and that the lack of it can lead to the catastrophic outcomes. It was an inspiring talk. I believe that ACRL has engaged quite a few librarians to blog the conference, but when I go to the ACRL conference home page I don’t see a link to the blog. I will try to get that information.

There was some pre-conference buzz about whether ACRL could extend its streak of setting a new attendance record as it has done for the past several conferences. Give the economic downturn and travel freezes at many academic institutions I expected that attendance would indeed be lower than Baltimore. But at yesterday’s opening session ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen Davis announced that the Seattle conference attendance was higher – but not by much – than Baltimore. But there is a catch. There are actually fewer F2F attendees but the virtual conference attendees increased from 100 for Baltimore to over 300 for Seattle. So when you total both F2F and virtual registrations it appears that streak will extend. I have no doubt that Philly in 2011 will continue the streak. Who doesn’t want to declare their interdependence? The number that caught my attention though is that there are over 1,000 first-time attendees. I have noticed many fresh faces and newer-to-the-profession folks in the crowd. In fact I bumped into one of my former students at the exhibits who just graduated from the LIS program not long ago and is here networking and looking for job opportunities.

I did have one interesting experience to share yesterday. I attended the “ACRL Conference 101″ program for the first-time attendees. I staffed the ACRLog table and answered quite a few questions about blogging – and quite a few folks wanted to know how they might blog for ACRLog. I just wanted to use this as an opportunity to remind readers that we are always open to ideas for guest posts – and you can use our “tip sheet” link to get in touch with us. But do keep in mind that we don’t post about upcoming events for the profession. If you want to blog a post about an event you attended if there is something interesting to share – that could be of interest. But the interesting experience came about when one attendee told me how valuable ACRLog was and that many of the posts were inspirational. My reply was along the lines of “well if it inspired you in some way why not share your reflections or thoughts in a comment”. I was surprised by the answer which was “commenting at ACRLog is scary”. I never would have thought that. Perhaps it is because we do post a link to your comment right on our main page – so they are quite public. Given that I share my thoughts here regularly I never would have suspected that it might be a challenge for others to do so.

So all I will say is that if you would like to comment – even if it is just to say – I enjoyed that post or that post got me thinking – that’s all right. Your comment means a great deal to us and it could make a difference to another reader. So while moral courage is critically important to the survival of our society and culture, just making a comment is another type of courage – a small act of courage – that will add to the discourse in our profession and ultimately make it better.

More later on that ACRL conference bag.

5 thoughts on “Commenting As A Small Act Of Courage

  1. Thanks for sharing both for those of us who can’t attend the conference, and for those of us who’s main contribution to “professional discourse” right now consists of a handful of comments on blogs here and there!

  2. I will certainly second your sentiments about commenting. Commenting is a great way to beging being more involved in the discourse of the profession. Now if I can only make more time to comment myself . . .

  3. Hi, Steven – I’m the person you’re referring to in the above post. To be fair, I don’t recall saying that commenting was scary per se, just that I felt like I didn’t want to comment unless I had something substantial to say. I hesitate to be one of those people who don’t contribute to the discourse other than to say “I like this!” is all. But, to reiterate, I do keep up with the blog and appreciate the insights present in both the blog posts and comments, and will definitely contribute when I feel I ought to. Like now, for example!

  4. You know, I’ve tried to comment here on multiple occasions, and my comments never appear. My guess is that there is some sort of spamcatcher that eats them. Which wouldn’t be a huge issue, except that I can find no other means anywhere on this site to contact those behind it and let them know. (It honestly didn’t occur to me to use the tip page for this. I will try it if this comment doesn’t show up.)

    Would it be possible to introduce CAPTCHA or something, instead?

  5. I don’t find commenting on ACRLog scary, but I do find it frustrating because my comments never, ever show up. I hit submit, the page refreshes, the comment isn’t there.

    I’ve tried submitting a comment (heh) to this effect via the tip page, and always get the response that it looks like spam, try again.

    Sorry. If this one doesn’t post, then I give up.

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