J.D. Waggoner was an engaging speaker - when he's not too busy being the secretary of the West Virginia Library Commission, turns out he's also a volunteer firefighter and lead singer/rhythm guitarist in a band. His talk centered on perceptions of libraries (often mentioning the OCLC report) and librarians. He asserted that librarians are still the "gatekeepers of the world of information," but that we're also our own worst enemy in this time of identity crisis. He had some specific tips for success:
- Get out into the community.
- Make yourself indispensable (like a tugboat).
- Get political.
- Be *the* information source for the culture of your community.
- Explode the stereotype - don't be a LOLLy (with a word of praise for the Desperate Librarians of calendar fame.
He also challenged librarians not to give in to the doom and gloom surrounding rumors of libraries' demise, particularly because of the Internet. On a closely related note, he said he was thrilled the WAPL ("whopple") program was more than just technology, and that librarians need to see the "bigger picture." (editorial: Hm.)
Bonus! The crowd was interested in his book recommendations: Vince Flynn for suspense, Pearl Buck, Homer Hickam, and Cynthia Rylant, all from West Virginia.