For those of you who have never visited (or heard of) a virtual conference, let me set the scene: hundreds of librarians huddle in front of PCs in their homes and small libraries across Iowa on a particularly freezing January day with coffee in hand. All are about to take part in a conference, without going anywhere. Keynoters Sarah Houghton-Jan and George Needham bookend the day while breakout sessions, poster sessions and even a virtual exhibit hall give every attendee the full conference experience – all without travel, or cost.
Have you ever been at a meeting where everyone takes out their calendars and PDAs and tries to figure out when on earth they could possibly meet again? You watch them one-up each other with all the reasons they are SO busy they can’t possibly meet on this day, at that time, and so the process starts all over again.
For those of us who work in small libraries and choose to get involved in the larger library community (whether that’s within the county, state, or beyond), instant messaging has become an essential tool. I use some form of instant messaging (IM) on a daily basis, depending on who I need to talk with and why.