Subscribe to SLJ
Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Where have I been? ALA’ing

Do you ever wear too many hats? I carry 3 business cards with me for 4 "businesses" and found myself engaged in all 4 at ALA.

  1. ALA Executive Board – this is the ultimate experience of a librarian’s career in a professional organization and I hope you will consider making it a goal to serve there someday. As a board member, we had our 12plus hours of dedicated meetings, homework packages delivered to our hotel rooms with stacks of pages to read, council meetings to attend, issues to deal with, people to thank, ribbons to cut, decisions to make, and liaison visits to make. I served this year as the liaison to 1) the Election committee, 2) the Committee on Organization which everyone calls COO, 3) the Intellectual Freedom committee which meets more hours than anyone I think, 4) COLA or the Committee on Library Advocacy, and 5) COSWL or the Committee on the Status of Women in Libraries. I am also on the Board Effectiveness committee. Other board members had more liaison visits (like Terri Kirk’s ten liaisons) but we will play liaison shuffle later this summer so I hope to add more. I also will go on the Prompt Book review which means my meetings start at 6:30am, with transportation at 6:10 a.m. If you consider board members attend receptions to thank sponsors, award honorees, and talk shop with librarians nightly until midnight, you can see we worked hard.
  2. SLJ blogger – this is a fun part because sometimes I think I am talking to myself on this blog and that no one is actually out there reading what I write. Hello? Anyone in this vaccuum? Okay, as a blogger, I walk through the conference looking for unusual things to write about – you’ll see those posts soon. Last year I kept all the blogging during the conference, but due to role #1, I had to get home and recover first before blogging. Sorry, Brian. I also love the moment when someone says, "Hi Diane! I read your blog and I’m your facebook friend." Cool! You readers do exist….
  3. Middle School Librarian – I may be representing lots of other people there, but I am constantly on the look out for ways to make my own library program better and to improve the collection. I take photos of things that my students might like as I walk the exhibit hall and make sure to photograph the image or name of the booth so I can order next week. Who has time to take notes? I take photos. I love getting the books autographed "To the kids at JFK…" because my students are thrilled to see them. I’ll sneak photos of the authors signing their books inside the front cover and wait for the students to discover them.
  4. Independent Beauty Consultant for that fun company with the pink cars (you know who). I actually took 2 orders with me for librarians from other states. With all the time I spend on boy issues and teenagers, it’s fun to have a makeup moment and talk about moisturizers. Whenever someone says, "You don’t look like you have a son turning 20 August 11th!" I tell them its the moisturizer and southern humidity.

So there, readers, is where I was and who I was during ALA. It has taken me a couple days to recover. I flew to Chicago one Thursday, took the train downtown and lugged my suitcase the supposedly 0.6 miles, and instantly began meetings. I worked until Wednesday night and flew back on Thursday. Considering how little sleep we get and how many miles of walking, cabbing, and bussing we did, I’m happy that I’ve woken up again Sunday to write. I’m back….


  1. teacherninja says:

    Hello! We’re out here listening! At least I am…

  2. Sabrina McClure says:

    Here with you all the way!