Introduction

So that others who might be planning library-themed unconferences may learn from the experiences of the organizers of Library Camp NYC, this page offers a history of how Library Camp NYC was planned, how it went off, and what lessons the organizers and attendees learned about such events.

Timeline

2006

  • Beginning in mid-October, Steven Kaye starts posting messages on his blog, The Corporate Librarian, to see if anyone else was interested in having a library camp event in the New York metropolitan area.
  • In late October, Steven Kaye creates two surveys on SurveyMonkey.com to narrow down potential dates and to identify potential topics and publicizes them on his blog and on various mailing lists.

2007

  • In January, Rachel Watstein volunteers to help Steven Kaye find a location.
  • In April, Stephen Francoeur, a librarian at Baruch College, volunteers to see if his library would agree to sponsor and host the event. When the library administration and college conference space administrators agree, Francoeur, Kaye, and Watstein begin working together to plan the event.
  • By mid-May, it is agreed that the date for Library Camp NYC would be August 14, a decision that is based on: availability at Baruch College of meeting space; it was far enough off in time to allow for planning of the event; since it was in the summer, some might find it easier to attend during a month when they were on vacation; and it didn't compete with other major library conferences. As soon as the date is settled, the organizers begin sending out "save the date" messages on blogs and mail lists (see the Promotions page for details).
  • The Library Camp NYC wiki is launched by Steven Kaye in mid-April but not publicized until the "save the date" messages went out in mid-May.
  • Beginning in May, the organizers seek out the advice and help of others who had attended previous library camps (notably, John Blyberg and Jay Datema).
  • The Library Camp NYC news blog is started on June 6. The intent of the blog is not to create a destination separate from the wiki but instead to create a flexible publishing platform. Using the free feed2js service, the blog feed was set up to be republished automatically on the News page (thanks to Meredith Farkas for suggesting this idea). Using the free Feedburner service, a system for delivering blog posts via email subscription is set up (see the News page).
  • In June, the organizers are spending a lot of time thinking about how the agenda for the day would be set. Among the ideas considered are:
    • having people write topics on index cards, which are collected
    • having a flip chart set up
    • using a whiteboard
  • By July, the organizers are having weekly conference calls to finalize details.

What It Was Really Like

This section will include a narrative of the day. It will also provide links to a page in the wiki for each session that was held. It will also provide links to any blog posts, etc. about Library Camp NYC.

Blog Posts


Lessons Learned

  • It took longer than we expected to collect the 30-some suggestions for discussion topics, merge ones that seemed to overalap in content, and then assign rooms based on expected attendance. Rather than wait until 20 minutes into the start of the day, it might be worth asking attendees at the registration table to fill out topic suggestion form right away. (Stephen Francoeur)
  • Although we accounted for vegetarian meals, perhaps we should have asked people when they registered on the wiki to let us know about any specific dietary concerns or restrictions: vegan, kosher, halal, allergies, etc. (Stephen Francoeur)