This past Wednesday our IST 511 groups presented our posters on contentious/unsettled topics libraries are currently dealing with. Our audience was each other, older library students, and some faculty and librarians who wandered in.
I found the poster session to be more fun than I had anticipated: it was neat to explain a topic I had become so familiar with [Dewey Decimal versus bookstores’ BISAC for book classification] to those who stopped by and generally had no familiarity with it. I was actually a bit disappointed by the decline in visitors in the second hour (though that was anticipated) when it was my turn to stand by our poster and talk. I definitely didn’t have the problem of being swamped by 10 people at once.
The only part that could be considered a negative was the awkward moment in between someone arriving at the poster and when they would start asking questions. I felt I should be engaging them in some way rather than just watching them to gauge how fast they were reading, but of course they needed time to find out the poster topic in the first place. I suppose this is not as much an issue in busier poster sessions, though.
This was definitely a fun experience and interestingly different from a standard lecture-style presentation, both on the presenter and the presentee ends. Discussions often sprang up about the topic with both the presenters and other audience members thanks to the flexible, interactive nature of the session. This also forced us to really be on the ball with our topics and improvise quickly, as our listeners could easily interject a difficult question we hadn’t anticipated.