What do you mean by "next-generation" librarian?

In the context of The Collective, "next-generation" librarian means any individual, regardless of age or stage of career, who has his/her pulse on the leading edge of library trends as they relate to the technology being used or services being provided. In short, it's someone who aims to understand librarianship 2.0 (and beyond!) and how libraries and librarians are changing to meet the needs of 21st century users.

Do you have any resources or documentation for people who want to create similarly kick-ass events?

Why yes, we do! We wrote an article for In The Library with the Lead Pipe where we tried to include the most useful and helpful information for those who want to use our not-so-secret but uncommon approach to event planning. We also penned a column in Collaborative Librarianship about how we do (and don’t) collaborate at The Library Collective.

Why should I attend a Library Collective event?

Are you tired of spending lots of money on conferences where you don't learn as much as you'd hoped? Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of organization at an "un-conference"? We're aiming to change all of that, so we hope you'll join us for any of our low-cost, high-impact events!

Can public library folks or graduate students participate?

Sure, public librarians may participate (and several have in past years!) but do know that we gear our programming to meet the needs of academic librarians, first and foremost. We encourage you to check out the event/program description to make sure it's right for you.

While we won't turn anyone away, we discourage graduate students who are not yet working in libraries from participation, since our aim is to help those working on the front lines and our size limit is small.

What should I wear? Is there a dress code?

There is no formal dress code. We suggest you wear what makes you most confident and comfortable for a high-energy, collaborative gathering among professionals.

Keep in mind that March in Knoxville is characterized by rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs increasing from 48°F to 57°F over the course of the month, exceeding 70°F or dropping below 35°F only one day in ten. Prepare for light snow or rain as well--we recommend bringing a winter coat and an umbrella. As with most conference venues,  dressing in layers is probably best to accommodate your own temperature preference. 

Do you have a code of conduct?

The Collective is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference at the discretion of the conference organizers. Our anti-harassment policy can be found here.

How accessible is your event? What accommodations and efforts go into diversity, equity, and inclusion?

We care deeply about diversity and accessibility. As part of our strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we have read the OpenCon Conference Planning Report and can check most, if not all, of the boxes on their Conference Planning Checklist. Here are a few examples: 

  • We stand behind our open and transparent three-step programming process that includes both an open, public suggestion and voting period and a blind peer review aimed at curtailing bias.

  • We are uniquely low-cost, even in comparison to our peers.

  • We support a robust code of conduct (see FAQ above) and provide a dedicated quiet space at our event.

  • Our hotel and venues are ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible (including a complimentary shuttle to any location within 3 miles of the hotel), we accommodate dietary restrictions, and all sessions use microphones for presentations and discussions.

  • We invite all participants to share any special needs or accommodations in our registration process and will do our very best to meet them. In the past, these have included providing a nursing room for new mothers.

In short, if you have or perceive a need that we haven't already met, just ask!

What makes The Collective different from a regular conference?

The Collective is a new conference concept that aims to offer the best of the traditional conference and "un-conference" worlds--enough organization so that you come away with some tangible skills, knowledge, and new contacts but enough flexibility so that our program doesn't grow stale in the time between proposals and the actual event. Participants are involved in creating the gathering program in an interactive, transparent way. And we're also programming in lots of fun!

Here's 6 big ways we're different:

  1. EVEN FOOTING: Everyone who attends is an active participant and pays an equally low registration fee. Celebrity culture is for tabloids, not conferences.

  2. ACTIVE LEARNING: We emphasize skill-building, tangible takeaways, and networking. No “CV filler” or“sage on a stage” presentations here!

  3. LOW COST: Designed for affordability, those within driving distance of Knoxville should be able to cover all associated costs of attendance for around $500.

  4. PARTNERSHIPS, NOT SALES: We think developing relationships with vendors is far more effective than hard sales, so we program real discussions rather than sales pitches.

  5. PRACTITIONER-FOCUSED: While administrators can certainly bring a wealth of knowledge and level of expertise, we believe that the ratio of admins to front-line workers should be reflective of the real-world landscape.

  6. NON-PROFIT: Our event is put on by volunteers who give their time in service to the profession. We have no paid or dedicated staff and do not profit off of registration fees; in fact, attendance costs are subsidized for all participants thanks to our generous sponsors.

What are some nearby attractions to make the trek to Knoxville worthwhile?

Within the Knoxville city limits, we recommend a visit to Ijams Nature Center, one of the many fine restaurants or shops near Market Square, and the Farmer's Market. Librarians and archivists might especially enjoy visits to the Knoxville Museum of Art, the East Tennessee History Center, the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound, or the Beck Cultural Exchange Center. Our partner, VisitKnoxville, has some good lists, too.

In addition to all the fabulous places in Knoxville, nearby we have the nation's most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the strange and awesomely tacky attractions of Pigeon Forge, and Dollywood--just to name a few. Librarians might be especially curious to check out the Highlander Center; Historic Rugby, Tennessee; Arrowmont, or the Museum of Appalachia, all within a short drive. 

What are some restaurants and bars I should try when I'm in Knoxville?

For those who wish to imbibe, we highly recommend the following, all within a walk or quick shuttle ride from the conference hotel: Suttree's, the Peter Kern Library (inside the Oliver Hotel), and Maple Hall (bowling and a great bar downtown!). 

Those with a sweet tooth should make an effort to taste the goodies from nationally-celebrated Mag-Pies Bakery or delicious ice cream from The Phoenix Pharmacy or Cruze Farm

And you can't go wrong with dining on Market Square.

Will you have a boring SWAG bag at The Collective?

Absolutely not. Our SWAG bag art is locally designed and previous bags have been created by this guy, this gal, and this gal.

Will you stream all or part of The Collective online? Will any of the sessions be recorded?

No, we do not plan to stream any sessions at The Collective events and we have a few reasons we hope you’ll understand:

  • First, we think the best kinds of networking and collaborating happen in person. Since the sessions are not “sit and listen” panels and lectures, taping them would be rather challenging and wouldn’t make a lot of sense, especially for the hands-on, conversation-driven, and make/hack/play-style of our sessions.

  • Secondly, we’ve designed The Collective as an extraordinarily low-cost conference. Anyone within a reasonable drive to Knoxville (approximately two-thirds of the population of the US is within a day’s driving distance) should be able to attend for around $500, including registration, hotel, gas, and non-provided meals.

  • Finally, we also think some sessions are best not recorded so that participants can share freely about their successes and failures and opportunities and challenges in the workplace.