Day one-ALA 2012 (WOOHOO!)

Completion of day one of my first ever library conference (in person) achieved! I was excited, scared, and confused, but it all turned out well in the end.  Summary of activities and thoughts:

NMRT (New Member Round Table) 101: Very first conference activity! This was very helpful for newbies like me; the moderators gave advice for first time attendees and advice for new ALA members on how to get involved and why to get involved.  While I have been hesitant to plunge too deeply since I’m currently working 3 jobs (meaning I don’t have a lot of free time) and since I’m not exactly sure where my career will take me (public, academic, special librarianship), they were able to convince me that it is quite worthwhile.

LITA (Library Information Technology Association) 101: A good introduction to this association for someone like me who knew very little about it.  By far, the most valuable part of this session was the mingling/networking.  It’s so amazing how many different types of people there are in libraries and very inspiring to meet them and hear their stories!  Special shout-out to Nick Velkavrh: It was awesome to meet you, and thanks so much for the advice!!

Opening Session: Yes, the video promo for ALA’s 15 x 15 initiative was over-the-top, “preaching to the choir”, and the word “propaganda” was being tossed around a bit.  But Rebecca MacKinnon’s presentation on her book, Consent of the Networked, was quite fascinating.  My thoughts on the censorship of the internet by American companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. : While it is upsetting that these companies censor the content on their sites because it violates freedom of speech, they are private companies who are moderating only the content they put on their privately held sites.  As private companies presumably reserving the right to publish only what they want to publish, don’t they have that privilege? On the other hand, it is true that in today’s world, the internet is an essential part of our lives where we conduct our business, manage our finances, and express our opinions.

Where should the line be drawn? Do companies hold the rights over their media (phone, radio, television) to publish/display only what they want?

What do you think?