You Don't Need a Time Machine

What's possible when students and library professionals meet? At the first Quasi-Con, held January 21, 2012, and organized by the ALA chapter at the University of Michigan School of Information, dynamic discussions and presentations took up the future of libraries. Here are participants' big ideas.


  1. After fueling up on coffee, participants took the plunge into unconference on-the-fly planning. Attendees broke into small groups and brainstormed questions, controversies, and predictions to present as discussion topics for morning unconference sessions.
  2. ryan recording topic ideas for the unconference portion
    ryan recording topic ideas for the unconference portion
  3. Live tweets streamed across digital tickers in U-M's North Quad, as attendees noted their observations, reactions, and reflections -- from the mundane to the sublime.
  4. White boards and Post-Its helped document ideas and provocative questions raised in unconference talks, from libraries as spaces, to sexy technology, to postmodernism.
  5. Talk of makerspaces and digital media labs connected modern libraries to their heritage as lending spaces and community "tool kits."
  6. Other discussion groups debated advocacy and outreach, and questions about the political nature of librarianship.
  7. By the afternoon, attendees regrouped and headed off to formal presentations featuring the work of SI students and professionals.
  8. Reference presentation asssuptions
    Reference presentation asssuptions
  9. Presentations ranged from "What the Hell are 21st Century Skills?" to "What To Do if You Hate Reference" to the Occupy Wall Street People's Library and Libraries in Space.
  10. Attendees gathered together one last time at the end of the day to share reflections.