If you host it, they will come

Every year, the Northeast Kansas Library System hosts a Technology Day; a gathering to learn and talk about technology in libraries. The day features a nationally known keynote speaker and numerous breakout sessions. Attendees are public librarians, academic librarians, school librarians, State Library and regional library system employees, and more. I have had the opportunity to plan this event for NEKLS many times now and am happy to say that the 2012 event (held August 16th) was perhaps the best one yet.

Eli Neiburger was this year's keynote speaker. Previous keynote speakers have included:

2005 Jenny Levine

2006 Michael Stephens

2007 Mary Madden

2008 Michael Porter

2009 Amy Begg Degroff

2010 John Blyberg

2011 Michael Wesch

I'm brimming over with thoughts (and upcoming blog posts) about this day, but wanted to reflect a bit about the format and event and why I like it so well. A good keynote speaker is very important. They set the tone for the day and provide big picture ideas that really make people think. I still hear librarians refer to things Jenny Levine said in her 2005 keynote! Eli's session yesterday was fabulous, too, and I'm sure will be sparking conversations for a long time to come.

Interesting breakout sessions are key, too. We're lucky to have a lot of really interesting, really thoughtful librarians in this area and fortunately, many of them are ready and willing to share what they are up to with others by presenting at Tech Day.

But the thing that really makes me love Tech Day is the conversations. Librarians meeting librarians and talking about what's new, what's interesting, what's inspiring. Big libraries, little libraries... all in one room, all talking and learning from one another -- building connections that may lead to future collaborations and conversations. I love virtual gatherings and am so appreciative of the webcasts that expand our library learning possibilities, but there's something about face-to-face that just works so well.

Tweet from a Tech Day presenter and participant

Tweet from a Tech Day speaker and participant

What are your experiences with hosting tech gatherings? What has worked for you?