Think back to that class in library science school that required a poster as a final project. You may have thought it was a bit silly, or didn’t really know how to condense all of your information into the size allowed. Either way, most librarians have some type of poster story in their educational background. But how does a poster translate to the conference setting?
AALL introduced the poster session at the 2011 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, and again this year posters were displayed in the Exhibit Hall with the presentation session scheduled during the 2:45-3:45 p.m. break on Sunday afternoon. For 2012, there were 29 posters from academic, private and government librarians representing at least two different countries. So why spend time browsing the posters when vendors had new products to introduce and the wonderful city of Boston was right outside the door? How about these two for starters:
1. The topics of the posters ranged across the spectrum of library issues creating an opportunity to learn something new in a short time frame. Where else can you find a discussion of rare books on French Civil Law and the legislative history of health care law in the same room? Even if one poster didn't involve a topic of great interest to you, you may still learn something (and can always move at your own pace if the subject interest was just not there).
2. This was an excellent opportunity to discuss and network with colleagues working on a project you may be considering. As I mentioned earlier, the librarians presenting in the session represented a cross section of our profession. If you are working on a project, or looking for ideas, a poster presentation session can provide numerous possibilities in one location.
So what were some of the most interesting posters to this author? At the MacMillan Law Library, we are considering starting a library student counsel, and I found the poster entitled Starting a Student Library Advisory Board (by librarians from several different law schools) to be an excellent opportunity to get ideas for our own program. Additionally, the poster on Comparison of Research Speed and Accuracy Using Westlaw and WestlawNext by Melanie (Oberlin) Knapp and Rob Willey from George Mason, a project in part funded by an AALL-Wolters Kluwer Law Business Grant, provided quality insight into the search processes and search results of the two Thompson Reuters products.
I am a big fan of poster sessions, both as a presenter and viewer. The opportunity to talk to the poster presenter, along with other viewers, provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about your own projects. This was my third poster presentation, each at a different conference, and every time I have been given great advice about my own work and future ideas, and I have truly enjoyed meeting people in a manner not possible with a traditional conference presentation. In case you missed the poster presentation session at this year's conference, keep it in mind for next year in Seattle.