ALA DC 2010

Nomenclature for non-Librarians reading this blog:

    ALA is the acronym for American Library Association
    ACRL – Association of College and Research Libraries, division of ALA
    LITA – Library and Information Technology
    YALSA – Young Adult Library Services Association
    AASL – American Association of School Librarians

2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC – WOW…that was a big – hot – conference [25,444 attendess and temperatures seldom below 95 degrees for the 6 day conference.]  Here is where you will get all the  “good stuff” links wise. I guess you had to be there to actually get the good stuff if the multiple bulging bags of books and the lines in the mail/shipping  center were any indication of getting good stuff. The exhibition area was huge, unwieldly and like another planet without basic provisions like food and water and coffee!  I navigated with due caution (and probably missed out on lots of good stuff – fondly known in Librarian parlance as “swag”. ) I never learned how to do swag in Library school. By Monday afternoon, after attending an author “tea” I did figure out that if I stood in the hall after the talks the publisher reps just handed me books – then I got them signed and I will give them away to deserving homes – after I read them!

It looked to me – a “newbie” first time attender – like the conference was many things to many people. Will Manley saw it this way – book people and machine people.

It was an organizational meeting grounds. I spoke with other Librarians who attended and were on ALA committees and they used much of the times attending ALA meetings. I did sit in on the YALSA  Best Fiction for Young Adults meeting and realized… ah ha, that’s how they pick the best books lists.

The conference was a showcase for best practices in libraries – but I have to say I was somewhat dismayed by most of the Librarians presentation styles. Bad powerpoints abounded. I tried to stick with my division of ALA – ACRL; but, discovered the LITA presentations had much more thought,  content and presentation panache. [More on the best, most thoughtful session of ALA DC 2010 Top Tech Trends soon.] Some intrepid Librarians know that presenting the  message is important and they practice with hilarity at Battledecks!

Be inspired at your conference, seemed to be another theme for me at the ALA Conference. I caught some (but unfortunately, not all) of the big name speakers. Toni Morrison spoke Saturday evening and was quietly eloquent. I did get to hear Mr. Eppo van Nispen tot Sevenaer (Director of DOK Delft – The Most Modern Library in the World) and so appreciated his F^5 approach to design and services. [Stay tuned and I will link my presentation describing this – here, soon] See him  at  TedxRotterdam 2010 here.

I was reminded everywhere during the conference…  Libraries are all about FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY! Librarians are teachers -all the time- and information literacy is a challenge and a calling. But, I always knew that Libraries are all about READING!

And though I attended sessions on Mobile Reference, eBooks, Marketing your Library services, and Tech Trends, as well as, talking and networking with our vendors like a good academic librarian should – I loved the time I got to spend with the authors and editors who were so eloquent and passionate about their books and reading.

Don’t forget Libraries are all about READING!

“There is nothing more beautiful than a beautiful story.”  (Eppo’s father!) ALA DC 2010 was the story of Libraries in all their organizations, contradictions, beauty and necessity.


About Kimberly Hoffman

Twitter: KMH_nowinVA
This entry was posted in Blogging, Books, Technology, The World We Live In, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.