The AALT Technician is the official journal of the Alberta Association of Library Technicians.

Friday, 13 May 2016

AALT 2016 Keynote Overview

Delegates gathered this morning for a great pre-keynote breakfast in historic Heritage Hall on the SAIT campus. The program began with a welcome to the conference by co-Chair Janis Rapchuk. Delegates were then welcomed to SAIT by Genevieve Luthy, manager of the Reg Erhardt Library.

Genevieve took a few moments in her address to note that this is SAIT's centennial year and the connections between AALT and SAIT's history.
Janis welcomes delegates to AALT 2016.
Lots of friends and colleagues reconnecting at the Friday keynote breakfast.
At 9:00 am ("not sure if we'll stay on time, but we'll start on time", as Janice put it) AALT President-Elect Karen Hildebrandt introduced keynote speaker Stephen Abrams with a warm recollection of their first meeting. 

Stephen opened his presentation by complimenting the quality of his suite in SAIT's residence and noting it was much fancier than he expected. He then entered into a wide ranging and enthusiastic talk about why this is an exciting time to work in libraries. 

His presentation challenged traditional library attitudes and practices by asking questions like "Do you make it easy to find resources or is it a treasure hunt?" and emphasising that library professionals provide not merely transactional services but transformational ones. He said we focus to much on what we have (nouns) and not enough on what we do (verbs). 

He highlighted some of our professional "diseases":
  • avoiding conflict
  • passive resistance
  • risk aversion
Stephen challenged delegates to work against these tendencies and to focus on our core competency of "improving the quality of the question and user experience."

Stephen Abrams asks AALT 2016 "What business are you in?"

This rousing, humorous and challenging presentation was a fantastic way to kick-start the conference. Stephen's slides are on his blog Stephen's Lighthouse. I encourage to have a look.

More to come from AALT 2016.


  1. Awesome recap! It's like I was there, oh wait I was there and it was amazing :)

    Sarah Stephens

    1. Thanks, Sarah. I had a lot more in my notes, but figured it was better to focus on just a few of Stephen's many (many, many) ideas.

  2. Thanks for a great summary. I was too busy listening that I forgot to take notes :)

    1. Thanks. Stephen has a lot more information on this topic on his blog.

  3. Sounds like a great start to the conference! I look forward to continuing to "be there" vicariously! Have a great conference!

    1. Thanks Kim. I'm glad to help you keep up with the conference.


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