Monday, September 18, 2006

Simmons Skill Share

Saturday, I went to the Simmons GLIS Skill Share, and had a great time. I met up with my friend Jessamyn, and we attended a couple of sessions together and the excellent keynote by the way cool Jenna Freedman and Eric Goldhagen from Radical Reference.

This was the first "skill share" event that I have attended, and I really had no idea what to expect. It turned out to be a group of sessions presented by students (and teachers?) at Simmons, which in the case of the sessions I went to turned out to be very informative overviews of courses offered at the college. Now, this may not sound overly useful for someone who is not only not a Simmons GLIS student, but no longer a student at all (and I think Jessamyn is right that we were the only non-students in attendance), but I did come away with some new, and very useful, information.

I attended a session on Literacy and Services to Underserved Populations, which I was very interested in as this was my field before I became a librarian. I came away with some great info on the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) and Talking Books, and a huge list of great literacy links (which will be posted in a day or two over at libraryland).

The keynote was an absolutely inspiring talk on Free/Open Source Software, and I left feeling like I want to DO SOMETHING to get computers and such software into the hands of people who may not be able to afford full computer set-ups (and everyone else, for that matter). So, yeah, now I need to install Linux (I may start small with Open Office, etc, on the new machine), and figure out how I can parlay my real loves, librarianship and OUTREACH, into a job that supports me. I am so glad that I still get excited by other people's humanistic ideas; it makes me realize that it was not a mistake for me to leave the corporate world (and also makes me realize that I am most likely doomed to be destitute).

Kudos to the organizers! I hope to see more events like this in the future.


Lisa said...

Sorry I missed out on it- I was fighting the flu all last week and weekend. Great recap though and I hope they have another session soon!

stranded librarian said...

Many Linux distros now are liveCDs that let you get a feel for the whole Linux desktop experience without having to install anything. No risk. My suggestion would be to try the latest Ubuntu, but there are plenty of other liveCDs to try and then pick the one you like.