Grants:Project/Rapid/Virginia Library Association Wikipedia booth/Report
Did you meet your goals? Are you happy with how the project went?
I was extremely happy with how the project went. My goal was to provide conference attendees at the Virginia Library Association's annual conference with information about Wikipedia and to raise the likelihood that they would participate in our programs. This goal was not only met, but exceeded.
Please report on your original project targets.
|Target outcome||Achieved outcome||Explanation|
|Number of total participants||100-120 participants||Exceeded - participants were any people that stopped by the booth for information or other offered materials. During the heaviest day, October 27, 2016, booth attendance was so constant that it made it difficult to talk to interested parties and record numbers. This number also included the amount of people that I talked to outside of the booth, that were interested in learning about Wikipedia and its programs.|
|Number of articles created or improved (if applicable)||0||Underachieved - this was a goal that I was aware would not be likely to be met during the conference, given that most attendees would be more interested in attending panels. Something that added to the difficulty of this target was the hotel's Internet connection, which was very expensive and cost prohibitive for many attendees. I did, however, find that many attendees were interested in editing Wikipedia in the future, either as part of a classroom learning environment or on their own time.|
|Number of photos uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (if applicable)||4||Underachieved - much like the improved article counts, this was something that I was aware would not be likely to be improved during the conference. As I was manning the booth by myself, I was unable to take pictures of convention goers that visited the booth, out of fear of missing out on booth visitors. What pictures were taken were done by myself.|
|Number of photos used on Wikimedia projects (if applicable)||0||Underachieved - I have used one of them in this report, but I am not going to count this towards the number. I am also hesitant to include the non-Wikipedia booth image on the main English Wikipedia and will leave it for others to add.|
Projects do not always go according to plan. Sharing what you learned can help you and others plan similar projects in the future. Help the movement learn from your experience by answering the following questions:
- What worked well?
I used the unofficial Wikipedia game as a way to entice people to the booth, as it as a natural conversation topic. This proved to be very effective, as people were curious as to how Wikipedia could be made into a game - which gave me a way to discuss Creative Commons licencing and from there, Wikipedia in general. I also found that approaching librarians with information about Wikipedia as a teaching tool worked well in general, as both college and public librarians stated that they held classes in their buildings. Something that was surprising was the topic of "Wikipedia as source". Attendees seemed to respond well when I told them that Wikipedia was aware that the site could not be used as a reliable source for citing papers. This raised the site's estimation in their eyes and many commented that they would frequently recommend it as a place to begin research, as it provided a general overview for patrons and the sources listed in the article were useful as reliable sources themselves.
- What did not work so well?
Many of the biggest flubs tended to center around the fact that this was my first time holding a booth by myself. I greatly underestimated the traffic that the booth would receive, so I was unable to talk to every person that visited the booth. I had at least one person come up and comment that they specifically wanted to visit the booth and see what we had to offer. Because of this, I quickly ran out of educational material and eventually ended up writing the URL for WikiEd's page (specifically the brochures page) on the back of my business cards. This would still give them access to the materials, but it unfortunately ran the risk of getting lost in their belongings, as the exhibition hall had a fairly wide variety of "booth swag" that they could pick up and carry with them. I was also unable to write out the URL on enough business cards due to the rush.
- What would you do differently next time?
I would have far more supplies for the booth in order to meet the demand of attendees. I would also have more general booth swag and a wider variety. Many of the booths tended to have items like pens and bags available, which were popular items for people to pick up and carry with them. I would also likely hold some sort of drawing for a free item (shirt, Wikipedia game, etc) to draw in additional interest. Something else of note that might be interesting is to have the information for Wikimedia DC posted so that patrons could contact Wikimedia DC directly if they so desired. I would of course be a good contact source for general questions, but none of the attendees were aware that there was a branch in DC that could answer more complicated questions.
Grant funds spent
Please describe how much grant money you spent for approved expenses, and tell us what you spent it on.
I received funding in the amount of $315 for the cost of the booth. This was not applied to anything else.
Do you have any remaining grant funds?
I do not have anything left over - I only asked for the amount of the booth itself.
Anything else you want to share about your project?
I was more than pleased with the outcome with the booth. The reception I received was incredibly warm and inviting, both from the conference attendees as well as the VLA itself. Fellow exhibitors were even curious about Wikipedia and I had one exhibitor request that I email her information about Wikipedia. It's something that I would absolutely love to do again in the future, especially with other volunteers with Wikipedia, as long as time and funding permits.
Above is an image of the initial booth setup. What I found fantastic was that I ran out of pamphlets in the first couple of hours - demand was that high. By the end of the conference all I had was some remaining candy and a handful of stickers. Many people were interested in taking stickers and pins back for their students, family members, and colleagues, as their overall outlook on Wikipedia was extremely favorable. I also used my interactions with the Library of Virginia as an example of how Wikipedia could interact with their libraries, which was well received. I was even invited to write an article about Wikipedia for the VLA's journal, that's how warmly I was received.