Code4lib was a big year this year, in many ways.
While not the biggest in numbers (2013 had 384 vs. ~350 this year), it felt a lot bigger because we were in a much smaller room, so it felt more crowded and bigger.
This year was also a big one for me, because for the first time, I had a presentation accepted and had to present in front of all these people.
I was particularly nervous because it was being livestreamed, and I simply know a lot more of the people who were at Code4lib (as opposed to LibTechConf). I also knew there were a lot more tech-y people, who might know what I’m talking about.
Thankfully, I had not only the chibibis plushies supporting me, but others if from afar.
While I still can’t believe I read from the wrong page of my script at some point, I don’t think it went too badly. It will help if next time I’m not doing two versions of the same presentation.
Welcome to Code4Lib
But let’s back track. I was thoroughly, but wonderfully surprised by the welcome we received at the airport!
Funny thing is the organizers didn’t know about this either until we were tweeting about it.
It’s All About Food & People
Being my third year attending Code4lib, I asked far in advance this time about sharing a place with others and I could not have asked for anything better, especially considering the wonderful brunch @yo_bj cooked up for us.
Of course, along with the excellent food was excellent company, sharing it with @ranti and @dchud.
Sharing food and good company doesn’t end there, because there was the newcomers’ dinner and many other meals with both great food and company. I always highly appreciate these meals, because it’s an opportunity to sit down with people and really chat, not only about topics related to library and technology, but whatever comes up.
The Newcomers’ dinner though is one of the best events because I’m not simply going out with people I already know. I’m getting to know new people, and of course, newcomers get to ask questions and see familiar faces for the rest of the conference. At my first Code4lib, this made a big difference for me, so I’m always happy to participate.
This year, I even purposely signed up for a group where I didn’t even know the veterans, let alone the newcomers, and I’m glad I did.
I hope that more conferences will organize these types of events, because it can be daunting to go to even a small conference for the first time, especially if it’s the first non-local one someone is attending.
So many pre-conferences to choose from, but I decided to go with project management, since it was the most practical. While I was already familiar with the general process, I definitely learnt some new bits and pieces that will help in the future.
I really appreciated that both our keynotes this year were not only from outside of the library community, but connected their ideas, interests, and projects back to the library community. They both talked about how their organizations and libraries could help each other.
There were lots of great presentations as well. Jason Ronallo did not disappoint, giving an explanation of websockets that everyone could understand and then wow’ing us with what we could do and what he’s already done with it. I got to see at least a shorter version of Dan Scott’s presentation that I missed at LibTechConf (because it was at the same time as mine). Finally, Bess Sadler started her talk on Hydra and its community, but went on to talk to us about how unsustainable our current practices are for upgrading people’s tech (especially coding) skills in libraries.
There are too many great presentations to list them all (go check out the videos or my notes).
While multistream conferences mean you can choose what you think will be more interesting for you, I find single stream will frequently surprise me as to what I find to be the most engaging and interesting presentations (though admittedly not always the most practical for my current job).
NCSU Hunt Library Tour
I will have to post the full set of pictures I have later, but needless to say, it was great to see the new NCSU library, especially after last year’s and this year’s presentations on their visualizations and digital collections. Added to that the library has a very neat navy simulation lab, gaming room, and maker space.
There was staff stationed all over the library to give us information on the various stops, plus they threw us a pizza party.
Most of all though, I really liked the use of space and light in the building along with varied furniture that really fit the spaces that they were in.
I could write a whole lot more, because I was overwhelmed by Code4lib this year by the people, the activities, the presentations, the food, and more.
The fact that it’s single stream and live streamed makes it more difficult to justify going every year, and yet, I feel like I get so much more out of Code4lib than almost any other conference I’ve been to.
Next year might also be more exciting since it will most likely be dual stream! I hope to be there to see it happen.