When Vendor Tote Bags Collide….

Observations of ALA 2010 or what I now like to call Death March with ProQuest Popsicles. Sadly I don’t have much to say other than the fact most of my time was sucked up by committee work and my struggles to locate Filene’s despite Yelp’s insistence it’s sitting in the middle of the National Mall reflecting pool.

Washington DC Itself:

  • There must be some ordinance mandating a minimum number of women carrying yoga mats per block. Sucking on a non-fat yogurt smoothie on the way to the closest yoga studio within a 20-foot radius? Completely optional.
  • Stocking Q-Tips in a drug store is an outlandish idea, at least according to CVS employees at two different stores.
  • Apparently the conference weather gods do not like expensive European cars parked in the middle of DuPont Circle.
  • DC is a city of lanyards, ironic since ALA did not distribute them to attendees this year.
  • The best portrait in the National Portrait Gallery? One that did not feature a dead white man.
  • I am amazed at the ability of DC women to ride the subway wearing office attire (complete with pearls) and not break a sweat, even when juggling a yoga mat.

THE Conference:

  • Shocked by how many younger people are entering the profession. Librarianship seems to no longer be a second profession, though as someone whose most challenging pre-librarian job was squirting butterfat on Ann Rice‘s popcorn, I suspect a lot of us who’ve been working for a while never really had an initial profession in the first place.
  • Code phrase of the conference: “Spectrum Scholar“.
  • My fascination with Elsevier vendors remains unabated. They’re the Vladimir Putins of the library resource world: weirdly urbane and coolly assured, they’re more than ready to crack walnuts with their glutes to demonstrate their superior electronic licensing technology.
  • Sadly I was not accosted by the Emery-Pratt robot. I was however unnerved by the stampede of librarians jostling each other for free books after the exhibit opening. If biological viability is determined by the number of romance novels one is able to grab after out-vendor-bag-butting your competitors, I am so dead.
  • In person, Jim Breuer looks just as stoned as he and everyone else says. Roy Blount, Jr. however, does not.
  • Stephen Abram: doesn’t that man ever sweat? Saw him in full-suited regalia heading towards a conference hotel in the midday heat. Must be taking tips from the DC women, though no yoga mat was to been seen on his personage.
  • Best example of the marriage between books and nail art? Displayed ten minutes into Shannon Zachary’s presentation on the Google scanning project and the future of print collections.
  • My inability from a distance to distinguish between Walt Crawford and Marshall Breeding may have the unintended consequence of convincing M. Breeding that I’m stalking him at vendor receptions. For that I apologize and promise to wear my glasses instead of contacts at all future receptions. BTW–Walt has a new book out: But They Still Blog. If you’re interested in library blogging past, present and future, you need to buy it. I do have a title suggestion for his next book: When the Legends Blog. But only if I’m the first chapter.

Twitter and ALA 2010: Oy vey the #ala10 twittering! I’m going to talk about that. Next time….