**Blogger is having some problems and keeps cutting this post in half. I hope it takes this time**
I am very glad that ACRL has jumped on the bandwagon and decided to have an official blog of their conference next week in Minneapolis. I am, truly. However, I am disappointed about the way in which they are going about presenting their blog to the world because, well, they are not. As far as I have been able to decipher, (the blog has not been publicized much, even to me and I am participating) the blog will only accessible to those attending the actual conference or those who have paid to attend a virtual conference. I would understand if they wanted to limit the video streaming and digital content of presentations during the conference and I might even understand if they had a good argument for keeping the blogs under raps until after the conference as well, but I have not heard of any plans to release the blog to the general public after the conference is over. It would be nice to use the blog, as PLA did, to showcase ourselves and all the great things that ACRL has to offer.
The ACRL blog will not be like the PLA blog or the new LITA blog that is still under development because ACRL has contracted with an outside company which will host the blog. The company is Learning Times, http://www.learningtimes.net/, with whom I have no argument, but I think there would be easier ways to create a conference blog in a scenario where ACRL would have more control over format, flow, and content.
Which brings me to my next point: Why do we, as a profession, often take something that could be incredibly simple and make it into something cumbersome and cost ineffective? ACRL has smart techie people who would probably be willing to help set up a blog that was directly hosted by ACRL, but instead it was contracted out. Another great example is Virtual Reference. Libraries sometimes spend thousands of dollars on VR platforms, when a free AIM, MSN, or Yahoo messenger account will work just as well and has the added bonus of being familiar to our customers.
I know that this problem has a lot to do with the fact that our libraries are often parts of large, clunky, bureaucratic institutions that need to form a committee every time the stapler needs to be refilled. I know that. I live that. Sometimes though, in my dream library, I wish I would be able to find an obvious solution to a problem and implement it without having to first explain the technology, why we need it, how it makes our lives easier, why it makes sense, and why our students have already been using the technology months or years longer than we have.
–Jane, rant over