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Maximum Ingenuity at MCMLA

I imagine that I do a pretty good job with presentations, so whenever I see somebody who I think is much better than me, I'm trying to figure out what of their style I can steal.  It could be tough with Rothman, because his presentation style seems to come so naturally from who he is.

He was the lunch speaker for the final day of the MCMLA conference, talking about inexpensive technologies ("Cheap and Easy: Bang for Your Buck").  His slides are here.  (And I feel compelled to point out that I intended to put up a post about his talk before I found out that he'd have links back to me all over it.  As if anybody cares.)  Be sure to watch the video of his boy Simon, with his new laptop.  The last question during the Q&A was, "Sorry, but could we just see the video of Simon one more time?"

The slides are worth going through for the links to some very cool tools, some of which I was not aware of, that will solve some small problems I've been having, but what's more important about the presentation is the overall tone and approach.  Rothman's a one person librarian in a challenging situation -- small hospital, few resources, IT department that is very focused on security, and an administration that does not have library services very high on the priority list.  He's far from unique in being in that kind of setting, but all too often it results in the librarian whining about what they can't do.  The line from his presentation that has stuck with me the most is, "Not all the time, and not every day, but I love my job."  And clearly he does.

When I was teenager, falling in love with words, it took me a long time to understand poetic form.  What was the point of trying to put your thoughts into fourteen lines with a complicated rhyme structure & meter?  I came to understand that it is by banging against the restrictions of form that we release the best of our creativity.

Rothman showed a slide that listed his hospital's priorities for his job, and then his own priorities.  They're not exactly the same list.  What he understands is that he's got to make sure that he handles the hospital's list exquisitely well -- and once he's done that, he can unleash his creativity on dealing with his own list.  He doesn't waste time trying to persuade his bosses that his list is better than theirs.  He just gets the job done.

During the Q&A to an earlier session, someone was trying to explain to the speaker that they really couldn't do what the speaker was suggesting because they just didn't have enough time and people.  The standard excuses.  I was in the back of the room and wanted to scream, "You don't have to solve the whole damn thing -- any progress is still progress!  Make something happen."

I was talking with some of my crew awhile back about our liaison program.  We will never have the resources that it would take to do everything that we think ought to be done.  That doesn't stop the people I get to work with from doing amazing things every day.  It doesn't seem to stop Rothman, either.




I like listening to David speak because it is so nice to hear somebody figuring out different ways to make things work here and there when the deck isn't always stacked in your favor.

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