Sweatin’ to the Presentations!

Just as I promised, my take on the humidity hell that was ALA:

Presentations: I tried to go to as many as possible, but since they were spread out over several hotels plus the fact it was so freakin’ hot, I wound up limiting my choices to ones presented in the Convention Center (which, by the way, had tons of empty conference rooms throughout the entire conference). Woe betide those who had to travel from one hotel to another; it took me an hour to go from the Embassy Suites to the Sheraton, spending most of the time wiping the sweat off my perpetually-fogged glasses. I’m amazed no one pulled a Martin Lawrence (at least that I know of).

That being said, I did enjoy many of the ALA Diversity presentations, particularly No Crystal Stair, Only Glass Ceilings. The problem is, after ten-plus years in the profession, it’s sad to see that we still have the need to hold sessions on the same diversity issues time and time again.

The Future of Libraries: Disappearing Libraries and Invisible Librarians: it’s always a kick to listen to Clifford Lynch and Howard Besser (both fellow alums). I played spot-library-royalty while my legs fell asleep from sitting on the floor.

If We Could Start Over, What Would Reference Look Like?: another kick, this time a freewheeling one. No structure, just off-the-top-of-the-head theorizing on revamping the reference service model. The one comment I was dying to make during the session (I had to leave early): whenever there’s discussion re outreach to a minority immigrant population, the talk is often about working with what can be loosely termed “official leaders” of a group (head of non-profits, recognized business leaders, etc). Growing up in a bicultural household, it was my experience that many people often consult unofficial leaders in a community, such as someone who owns/works in a store catering to the community, or organizes social events. My mother and her friends met weekly at the NCO club Sunday bingo games; it was there she learned how to navigate the intricacies of the western world. So why not provide reference outreach/triage at places like Latino grocery stores or WalMart? Just my two-cents.

Best Presentation Title: Living Legends: You’re So Famous I Thought You Were Dead. Funny–that’s what I keep thinking about Glen Ford and Eddie Albert.

Next Time: Personal ALA highlights and disturbing vendor gift trends (“I don’t need no stinkin’ free peppermints!”)

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