At SLA 2019, Posters, Papers and Ping-Pong

Just as the three most important factors in real estate are location, location and location, it’s said that the three most common features of conferences are PowerPoints, PowerPoints and PowerPoints. At the SLA 2019 Annual Conference in Cleveland, PowerPoints had plenty of company—posters, papers, and ping-pong were also quite popular.

Poster Sessions

Poster sessions have long been a staple of SLA Annual Conferences. Typically, three separate sessions are held, each sponsored by a different SLA division or group of divisions:

  • The Science-Technology Division and Engineering Division;
  • The Business & Finance Division; and
  • The Academic Division, Education Division, and Social Sciences & Humanities Division.

At SLA 2019, a fourth poster session was added to the mix—an “all-star” session featuring the most popular posters from the three division sessions. Conference attendees were invited to vote for their favorite division posters using the conference mobile app, and the posters receiving the most votes were entered into the all-star session.

The all-star session was held in the INFO-EXPO, the conference exhibit hall. When the final votes were tallied, Dana Eckstein Berkowitz (pictured above, at left) of Yale University came out on top with her poster, “Wayfinding in the Library.” She will receive a free year of SLA membership in recognition of her achievement.

Contributed Papers

Like the posters, contributed papers have been fixtures at SLA Annual Conferences for many years. At SLA 2019, five papers were presented:

  • “Bench to Bedside: Detailing the Catalytic Roles of Fully Integrated Information Scientists”;
  • “Evaluating Text Mining Tools to Help Improve Rigor in Research”;
  • “Exploring the Cultural Intelligence of Special Librarians”;
  • “Revolutionary ROI: Capturing Library Value”; and
  • “Transforming Traditional Reference Services into Research and Publication Support Services.”

“Bench to Bedside,” by Mallory Blasingame and her team at the Center for Knowledge Management, Strategy and Innovation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was judged the best contributed paper. Mallory will receive free registration to the SLA 2020 Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. (The papers and accompanying slides are available for viewing on

Ping-Pong (and Other Games)

For the third consecutive year, the SLA Annual Conference included a FunZone Competition in the INFO-EXPO. Teams of four players squared off against each other in ping-pong, foosball, Jenga, and cornhole, with each game lasting five minutes.

Competition was fierce but friendly, with each team substituting freely to ensure all team members participated in each game. The winning team at SLA 2019 (pictured at right) was the Jello Jigglers: Liz Frickelton, Lacey MacLean, and Emily Pillar of Aurora WDC and JP Ratajczak of Nationwide Financial.

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