Whew – it’s be a wonderfully exhausting past few days here in Columbus, OH as the Libraries played host to Code4LibMW. This has been something that I’ve been looking forward to ever since making the move to The Ohio State University; the C4L community has always been one of my favorites, and while the annual conference continues to be one of the most important meetings on my calendar – it’s within these regional events where I’m always reminded why I enjoy being a part of this community.
I shared a story with the folks in Columbus this week. As one of the folks that attended the original C4L meeting in Corvallis back in 2006 (BTW, there were 3 other original attendees in Columbus this week), there are a lot of things that I remember about that event quite fondly. Pizza at American Dream, my first experience doing a lightening talk, the joy of a conference where people were writing code as they were standing on stage waiting their turn to present, Roy Tennant pulling up the IRC channel while he was on stage, so he could keep an eye on what we were all saying about him. It was just a lot of fun, and part of what made it fun was that everyone got involved. During that first event, there were around 80 attendees, and nearly every person made it onto the stage to talk about something that they were doing, something that they were passionate about, or something that they had been inspired to build during the course of the week. You still get this at times at the annual conference, but with it’s shear size and weight, it’s become much harder to give everyone that opportunity to share the things that interest them, or easily connect with other people that might have those same interests. And I think that’s the purpose that these regional events can serve.
By and large, the C4L regional events feel much more like those early days of the C4L annual conference. They are small, usually free to attend, with a schedule that shifts and changes throughout the day. They are also the place where we come together, meet local colleagues and learn about all the fantastic work that is being done at institutions of all sizes and all types. And that’s what the C4LMW meeting was for me this year. As the host, I wanted to make sure that the event had enough structure to keep things moving, but had a place for everyone to participate. For me – that was going to be the measure of success…did we not just put on a good program – but did this event help to make connections within our local community. And I think that in this, the event was successful. I was doing a little bit of math, and over the course of the two days, I think that we had a participation rate close to 90%, and an opportunity for everyone that wanted to get up and just talk about something that they found interesting. And to be sure – there is a lot of great work being done out here by my Midwest colleagues (yes, even those up in Michigan ).
Over the next few days, I’ll be collecting links and making the slides available via the C4LMW 2015 home page as well as wrapping up a few of the last responsibilities of hosting an event, but I wanted to take a moment and again thank everyone that attended. These types of events have never been driven by the presentations, the hosts, or the presenters – but have always been about the people that attend and the connections that we make with the people in the room. And it was a privilege this year to have the opportunity to host you all here in Columbus.