New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Librarians Head to South by Southwest

By: Lauren Comito

As one would imagine, South by Southwest is awesome. I attended SXSWi over the weekend of March 8th, and was overwhelmed by the amount of amazing presentations, networking opportunities and parties. The experience is so huge, that I’m going to write about the three main things that I took away from it (besides all of the free beer.)

1.    People
It feels weird to have to fly all the way to Texas to meet fellow New Yorkers, but that’s what it seems to take. I made some great connections for my library, and I hope to work some of those connections into partnerships.

2.    Sessions and Presentations
SXSWi is well known for being a tech and marketing conference, but there is also a large track of programming related to social good called Global Impact and Policy. I spent most of my time there, in panel presentations on everything from How Large Asian Cities inspire Innovation to Diversifying the Tech Workforce, to Mobile Technology Solutions for the Marginalized.

3.    Ideas
All of those people in point 1? They all have ideas that they feel passionately about that it’s almost a physical presence in the room.   Ask someone to tell you what they are working on and be prepared for extreme enthusiasm and great ideas. I left SXSW with new ideas of how to incorporate technology in libraries, and a renewed commitment to making ideas that I had sitting on the back burner really happen. Get outta my way, because I came back ready to do ALL THE THINGS!!

Why Libraries?
In all of my conversations at SXSW, not one person questioned the relevance of libraries. We all know that libraries exist as a part of a larger information infrastructure. Well, the rest of that infrastructure believes in our mission, and wants to work with us to help make our communities better places.

Let’s go meet them where they are, see you next year at SXSW!