When a conference like ALA ends, some people assume "it’s" over with the last session. Good conferences provide thinking for the next year. They inspire you. They motivate you. They inform you. They ignite you. They connect you to others. While the ALA conference has ended, I have not stopped writing about what occurred and what should continue to evolve from this. I’ll try to keep blog posts very short so you can easily glance this week, but I want to give you an idea, a taste, and a feel for what happens beyond a few programs at conference.
Why didn’t I do this the entire time I was at conference? My hotel did not offer free wi-fi. Plain and simple. I had my computer with me, but I also had packets & notebooks for each type of meeting I was attending and I draw the line at hauling more than 50 pounds of stuff into the conference center at the beginning of the day when I fully intend to come out with several bags of books. I believe all library conferences should begin now to negotiate with conference hotels to provide free access during our conference. They can do this. If any cheap hotel on the interstate can offer free wi-fi, ALA with it’s bargaining power of tens of thousands of attendees can negotiate this.
This is not cheap chatter on my part. You see, I am now on council for ALA thanks to many people’s votes and I’d like to see a few things get done that are practical in addition to the philosophical. I understand the difference between guiding principles and micromanagement organization. Council is supposed to focus on the big picture so here is my view: LIBRARIANS NEED TO HAVE INTERNET ACCESS IN EVERY CONFERENCE HOTEL INCLUDING MEETING ROOMS WITHOUT EXCESSIVE CHARGES. We are the information leaders. We are the great connectors. We need access.
And yes, JW Marriott, I do object to paying $3.95 for 15 minutes of wi-fi in the lobby. I’ll continue to haul my computer to essential meetings, but excessive rates limit our conversation, our access to blogs, and our enabling others to participate virtually through us. I’m on it. Anyone else concerned?