Document Type

Technology and Innovation

Publication Date



At professional library conferences, the standard method for making a presentation is to talk about a list of points organized into Microsoft PowerPoint slides projected up on the wall. Critics of PowerPoint have argued that it induces stupidity, turns everyone into bores, wastes time, and degrades the quality and credibility of communication. Yet, PowerPoint remains the primary tool for communicating ideas among librarians specializing in instruction.

Instruction librarians have an ongoing concern on understanding and using technology to enhance student learning. This presentation, however, flips that focus and concentrates on how technology is used to enhance and impede librarian learning. Drawing on a variety of academics and presentation consultants, it introduces the major ideas and discussions on the strengths and limitations of PowerPoint presentation software. Through the use of content analysis, it examines and describes the PowerPoint presentations delivered at library instruction conferences such as LOEX, LOEX-of-the-West, and WILU. Some questions raised will be:

  • Does PowerPoint make us stupid?
  • How and why we use PowerPoint?
  • What do we find annoying about PowerPoint presentations?
  • What types of information are best conveyed through PowerPoint?
  • How can we energize our PowerPoint presentations?
  • How can we make slides more readable and effective?
  • What makes a good presentation and conference experience?

The program invites all those who use PowerPoint and others concerned with communicating effectively to consider the question: “To what extent, if any, is PowerPoint the right tool for my presentation?” Ideally, participants will improve their skills with this useful but confounding technology and thereby improve their instructional and conference presentation skills.