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2015 SAIL

~ By Marie Zhuikov

A unique group of librarians is holding its first conference in the Great Lakes region next week. They are librarians who specialize in marine and freshwater science topics and who belong to a regional branch of the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers. Their conference, “Great Lakes, Great Libraries,” is being held in Madison, May 16-19.

“This is the first time in 27 years that we’ve had our regional annual conference in a freshwater state,” said Anne Moser, senior special librarian with the Wisconsin Water Library. She is organizing the conference along with Alisun DeKock, another Great Lakes librarian from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

The regional group, called SAIL, is comprised of libraries on the East Coast and in Great Lakes communities of the U.S. and Canada, along with several foreign countries like Bermuda and Panama. Approximately 25 librarians will be at the Pyle Center to hear presentations by their membership on innovative library practices as well as to learn about the science of local watersheds. SAIL members will present recent projects related to digital asset management, managing big data, and ways to communicate and translate scientific information. 

Scientific speakers include Jake Walsh from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology, who will discuss Lake Mendota and his research into the invasive spiny waterflea. Wisconsin Sea Grant’s David Hart will speak about an integrated approach to addressing bluff erosion along Lake Michigan. From the Shedd Aquarium, Garrett Johnson, will describe the Shedd’s environmental and education efforts in the Great Lakes. With a nod to the intersection of art and science, the program also includes a presentation by UW Art Professor Sarah FitzSimons on how water has infused her work.

This is the first time Moser has had a hand in organizing a conference, and the first SAIL conference for DeKock. They have been doing “pretty much everything from A to Z” in terms of details. Even after the conference is over, Moser intends to continue highlighting the importance of an association like SAIL to the professional work of librarians and information managers.

“One of my goals is to continue to work to get more librarians from around the Great Lakes involved and to keep freshwater scholarship visible within the group,” Moser said.