NWILL 2019

by Stephanie Spires, Chief Operations and Service Officer

Beautiful Portland, Oregon was the setting for the Northwest ILL conference I attended with John Brunswick September 12th and 13th. Portland is a vibrant creative community with breathtaking scenery. It is always a pleasure to be able to spend time in person with library folks and to have the opportunity to talk about ILLiad. 

John and I spent time at our exhibitor's table answering questions and talking about new releases and available services, including Tune-ups, Concierge, the Video Training Library, and custom consulting. There was a lot of interest in ILLiad future development and questions about how to best implement new ILLiad services. I was very excited to hear so many folks discussing new ILLiad projects and making connections with colleagues. I am also expecting a few follow-up tech support emails to come my way.

On the first day, I attended presentations, including the keynote address. Nancy Pearl spoke about her life as a reader, and I identified with many of the stories she told. She talked about spending a lot of time as a child in her local public library. I was reminded of the many hours I enjoyed at Reynoldsburg Public Library in Ohio as a kid and how much I loved the Children's Department. I recall being about seven years old and asking the librarian about when I would be able to get my own library card. She told me that when I could sign my name in cursive. I remember practicing and practicing and the pride I felt when I was able to go in and get that card and sign my name. Nancy said she was "a person made up of books," and I feel like I could say that, too.

Pictured left to right: Stephanie Spires of Atlas Systems, NWILL Keynote Speaker Nancy Pearl, and Summer Steele of Oregon Health and Science University.

Pictured left to right: Stephanie Spires of Atlas Systems, NWILL Keynote Speaker Nancy Pearl, and Summer Steele of Oregon Health and Science University.

I enjoyed learning from all the sessions I had the opportunity to attend and was particularly delighted by Natalie Logue's Lifting the Veil: Exploring New Ideas and Challenging Old Beliefs in Interlibrary Loan. I felt like the Grinch when his heart grew three sizes as she talked about learning the ILLiad Customization Manager inside and out and streamlining workflows by using ILLiad in new ways.  

I was also inspired to do more with ILLiad data and statistics during Meghann Weldon's Resource Sharing: The Data and Our University System's Story. Meghann had great ideas about asking questions and telling stories using data. She used data to propose making meaningful changes to improve user experience and was very successful in her efforts. I am hoping to work further with Meghann to highlight how ILLiad data can be used to improve workflows and patron experience. 

During the twenty-minute NWILL Exhibitor Presentations, I gave an update on ILLiad 9.1 and future ILLiad development. We chatted about the new accessible ILLiad web pages, updating to version 9, and future Atlas events at the upcoming Access Services and OCLC Resource Sharing Conferences.

Atlas Systems sponsored a happy hour event at Henry's Tavern in the Pearl District. We had a great turnout and lots of fun. Feedback so far on the event from attendees has been fantastic, and Henry's Tavern staff did a great job keeping up with all of us. 

As always, John made sure that I saw some of Portland and that I didn't languish in my hotel room. He took me to Powell's Books, to walk along the riverfront to dinner, and to sample some delicious Oregon wine at Oregon Wines on Broadway. 


A big thanks to the NWILL planning committee for all their hard work in making this conference such a success. We look forward to seeing everyone at NWILL again next year!