I can has decent PowerPoint presentation? KTHX.

I attended the first day of my second official library conference today - the OLC Reference and Adult Services conference. I have to say, even for a smaller affair than the first conference I attended (the big OLC Annual Conference last October), it was really nice. The food they served for lunch was great (bonus!), I was much less scared to talk to people I didn't know, and the programs and speakers were really good.

...except the last program of the day. I hate critizing presenters, because I know hard they must have worked to prepare, and sometimes things just don't go as planned - but let me explain. This particular presentation was a combination of uninteresting antecdotes, bad jokes, and the worst PowerPoint presentation I've seen since library school. His topic was adult programming in the library, and although he did stay on topic and gave some good advice about how to come up with programming ideas, he spent far too much time talking about the individual programs that he had put together, and not enough time talking about the logistics of hosting a program and marketing it to the community. After a while it just felt like he was showing off - he kept raving about all of the programs he'd put together for his library, and then would drift off into a story about the people involved in the program or try to tell a not-so-funny joke. (I'm sure it didn't help that I had a huge headache at that point... but I digress.) And when I say "bad PowerPoint," I'm talking flying/rotating text transitions (SIGH), all white backgrounds, and nothing but Times New Roman font. The slides were set up in a basic outline format, and other than some pictures of posters his marketing department created for his programs, the slideshow really didn't add anything useful to the presentation. The scary part is that he stressed how librarians need to learn to use PowerPoint (O RLY!?!), and that he teaches a technology class for patrons at his branch. To top it off, he muttered several times during the program "I hate technology!" after he'd accidentally jump forward too many slides - meant as a joke, I'm sure, but isn't that a bad sign? Especially if you consider yourself a technology instructor?

The rest of the day, however, was amazing. Joan Frye Williams gave a wonderful talk in the morning, as she always does, and I enjoyed every minute of it. After lunch, I was inspired by a program I attended on marketing your collection - now I have all sorts of good ideas to take back to work with me on how to display some of our newer titles and get more customers interested in them. And I also attended a very enlightening panel discussion about how the business community sees the public library, and what they would like to see us do to serve them better. So one rotten apple didn't ruin the bunch for me! I can't wait to learn more tomorrow morning.


Amanda responded on 7/10/2008 7:14 AM #

There are ALWAYS some bad apples at conferences unfortunately! AT PLA this year I encountered several bad presentations. I got in the habit of sitting in an aisle row for a quick escape and having a back-up presentation circled, just in case! It did help! But I hear ya, it is discouraging!!!