The First Ever MEMO Unconference

Participant’s hands had a death grip on steaming mugs of coffee as we assembled for the Joyce Valenza keynote, which kicked off the Saturday Unconference day for the 2013 MEMO Conference. Valenza was amazing as always, and I have reams of notes from her presentation; mostly new tools. Links will be forthcoming.

About one third of the attendees had attended an unconference before, which surprised me. The content of an unconference is based solely on the immediate interest of those in the room .  The rules were: NO power points, rule of two feet (leave a session if it does not suit your immediate need), everyone has a voice, everyone is an expert, and have fun! Then, pads of sticky notes were placed on the tables and we were asked to consider topics to put on the slips of paper to then transfer to a large grid at the front of the room. We were asked  to consider: What can I teach about, what do I want to learn about, or,  I want to discuss or collaborate with others on this topic. The suggested topics  sorted themselves out quickly and numbers were placed on tables to correspond to the numbered topics.

10-8-2013 2-05-05 PM

It was really hard to choose where to go, but then I remembered the “two feet” rule, so the stress was instantly gone! In round two, I chose the e-folio table, but most of us were there hoping for an expert or someone to lead the conversation. When no one took on either role, without guilt, I got up and ambled on over to student PLN’s which was better.

But the highlight for me was truly during the first round, I picked Being Influential. I was delighted and surprised to see that Stephen Abram, our Friday luncheon keynote speaker was prepared to lead the conversation. Stephen has many claims to fame and I have followed him online for years.  He is the author of Stephen’s Lighthouse blog, is a library trend watcher, fundraiser,  innovator, thought provoker, and has held several executive leadership positions in the library field; big names like Gale, SirsiDynix, Thomson, and ProQuest. Bonus! So, I and seven other professionals could sit around a table and listen to Stephen’s thoughts on the subject,  and shoot him questions about how to apply his suggestions to local situations. It was well worth my while, I took detailed notes,  and will share the details of that little round table discussion next week, so stay tuned!

If you were also at the MEMO Unconference, what did you think? Is this an event model that you would like to try in our Central Minnesota region among colleagues? CMLE listens to its member libraries/media center staff,  so if you have an opinion, make your voice heard!

3 thoughts on “The First Ever MEMO Unconference”

  1. I would love to have an “unconference” in our area. Those of us in the school libarary field in Central MN were talking about how it would be great to gather and discuss what’s happening in our professional worlds, and this could be one way to do it while having meaningful discussions about topics we can teach or would like to learn about. Also, I heard quite a few people mention the “stickiness” and the discomfort in our role as “supervisors” in the media center, yet we have no power to evaluate or discipline. I’m wondering if something like this could be addressed in a session or with a speaker. Several of us like that part of our job the least because it is a strange position to be in.

Comments are closed.