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Inside Practically Paradise

ALA Annual Thursday Fun Before It’s Begun

I arrived in DC for ALA Annual #ala10 on Wednesday. Since I have so many meetings scheduled, I wanted to take time to gather resources for my students before the conference. In addition, I’m quite capable of filling my time with extra meetings or tours. Here are some of my activities so far: 

1)  Reception at the DC Convention Center thanking ALA for bringing in this conference of 25,000 people.  Past President Jim Rettig and ALA   

Conference Planner Deidre Ross accepted this gift. The conventional planners promised to locate sweet tea in this city and let me know who has it. I might not make it without my daily dose! 

2) Took a mini, behind-the-scenes tour of how the convention will be set up. This included looking at the logo for the 2011 Midwinter Meeting in San Diego. Of what do you think it is composed?  Would you believe those are not water drops or flower petals? Instead, they are speech bubbles to illustrate the importance of networked communication. I am always surprised by graphic designers. 

3) Visited the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library which is barely a block from my hotel. They have free Wi-Fi for those of you who don’t like paying $13 a day for internet connectivity in your hotel room.  They have information and free water for ALA attendees, also. 


4) Janice Rosen of the Library Services to the Deaf Community Adaptive Services Division of the MLK Jr. Memorial Library graciously hosted my group of Allison, Cristol and myself as we learned about providing services to hearing impaired/deaf community and the visually impaired community. I took photos of books and devices I needed and was given two catalogs to help build a collection to support the needs of my students coming in this year. There will be a fantastic panel on Sunday at that library. Pop in at any time between one and five to learn more about serving the needs of your patrons. Authors like Emily Arnold McCully will be on hand to share materials. 

Wendall Kellar

5) Visited the children’s room to meet Wendall Kellar, who was preparing for story time, and Maggie Gilmore.  

6) Visited the new teen room at MLK Jr Memorial Library and chatted with Wanda Jones about their facebook fan page Teenopia. 

7) Checked out displays throughout the DC Public Library.  One that caught my eye had several YA literature titles displayed along with information on the utterly fantastic Teen Health & Wellness database. To recognize 2010 National HIV Testing Week, there 


were materials, bookmarks, programs (HIV Mythbutsers: A Teen’s Guide to Good Info; Teen Dating, Relationships, and HIV; and It’s Complicated: Making Healthy Choices about Sex), and even snack-size Ziploc bags filled with condoms. 

8) Cristol headed off for her tour of the White House, her massage, and her lunch using coupons from the convention center while Allison and I wandered towards the mall. Along the way, we visitied the store for the National Law Enforcement Museum. The groundbreaking for the NLEM is in October with the museum to open in 2013. There will be 15,000 sq. ft. with “computer ineractives, immersive media, and one-of-a-kind artifacts that will givitors new insignts into law encorement and it place in American history and society.” 


9) I have always wanted to see the Wright brothers planes and the Spirit of St. Louis so Allison and went to the National Air and Space Museum .  Soon after we arrived, we decided to focus on just the air part of the museum and save the space for the next trip. Even visiting half the museum took hours. 

The exhibit on GPS systems was enlightening and I’ll share more about that in my blog post on geocaching. I took photos of some of the banners for my notes.  New technologies like Augmented Reality using camera feeds and GPS to superimpose data and graphics were highlighted. I like traveling and the concept of pointing my phone at a site to then gather information in real-time. 

Did you know today there are 30 satellites making up the US GPS system? Did you know the Chinese equivalent to the US’ GPS system will be called Compass and have 12 satellites by 2011, 35 by 2020? The current Navigation System is named Beidou after the Big Dipper’s Chinese name. 

I really enjoyed the National Air and Space Museum. It felt like I just couldn’t learn enough about the Wright brothers. One of the signs quoted Charles Dollfus saying “Men of genius– erudite, exact in their reasoning, hard workers, outstanding experimenters, and unselfish — the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright have, more than anyone else, deserved the success which they achieved. They changed the face of the globe.” 

What an accolade! Another sign about the Wright brothers ability to use visual thinking stated “The Wright brothers’ use of graphic mental imagery to conceptualize basic structures and mechanisms was among the most important elements of their inventive method.” 


The Wright brothers learned from others, including the Lilienthal Hang Glider of 1894. 


I was amazed to see the variety of engines so I had to call my auto mechanic dad to leave a message.  I was fascinated with the skis 


on the Polar Star. 

10)  Back to the hotel for a quick nap and an attempt to answer emails. I slipped into the Library Champions reception and tried to circulate thanking people for donating and planning in their wills for ALA contributions. 


 11) Then off to dinner with the ALA Board members and key staff of the Library of Congress. We were fortunate to be able to dine in the Members of Congress Reading Room. This is an amazing room facing the U.S. Capitol with oak doors, half walls, decorated marble fireplaces at both ends, and a very elaborately decorated paneled ceiling with seven inset paintings. There were two large masaic panels over the marble fireplaces. History was at the south end. Law was at the north end. Friends of law include: Industry, Peace, and Truth. The enemies of law include Fraud, Discord, and Violence. So much symbolism throughout the Thomas Jefferson Building!

I was fortunate to dine with Robert Dizard, Mike Handy, Kathryn Mendenhall, and

Librarian of Congress Billington

Kathleen Ott. The Librarian of Congress gave a short speech reminding us of the pillars of specialized knowledge, wisdom, character, and judgment. Then he thanked Roberta Stevens for her hard work at the LOC and wished her the very best for her future as ALA’s president beginning Tuesday night.

Curious what we ate? How about this menu:

Red Treviso Salad with Compressed Asian Pear

(Saved Fennel, Rouge Creamery Smoked Bleu Cheese toasted with toasted pine nuts in a pine nut vinaigrette)

Roasted Black Cod

(With fresh herbs, lemon zet and olive oil)

Sage Crusted Chicken Breast

(Citrus Beurre Blanc, Orzo Pasta Pilaf flavored with a hint of tomato, Grilled Asparagus with Red Peppers)

Peaches and Cream

(Layers of peaches, vanilla cream and pistachio cake with amaretto peach coulis)

Demitasse Coffee Service


12) I was too tired to slip away to the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, although I did pick up the information about it. “Haitian artists affected by the January 2010 earthquake are featured at the Festival Marketplace with nearly two thousand craft items for sale.” There will be exhibits for Asian Pacific Americans, Mexico, and more.