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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

ALA 2010: Remembering What I’ve Forgotten

Well, I’m proud to say that the resident husband and I have arrived safe and sound in ALAla land.  Washington D.C. welcomed us like a too affectionate panting dog, all moisture and temperatures over 90 degrees.  Ah, swampy capital.  How I’ve missed ye.

I begin by planning out my itinerary for the next few days. I’ve already noticed a couple things while here, which I shall endeavor to let you know about.  Frankly, if you’re in town right now I doubt that you’re going to read me, but just in case I’m compiling a list of things I’ve learned from my ALA Conferences over the years.  Some of this has practical implications in the future as well.

  • First off, the conference floor will not be open to the librarians until Saturday morning.  However, there is usually a Friday night pre-opening where folks with MLIS degrees swarm the floor like hungry piranhas, devouring any spare marketing employees foolish enough to cross their paths.  These marketing folks, by the way, tend to arrive in town on Wednesday and then spend two whole days setting up their respective booths.  If you see one, give them cookies and bottles of water.  They deserve them.
  • You always want to find out where the ALSC Notables Committee is doing their talk.  Anyone can walk in at any time to listen to them discuss the best books of 2010.  It’s a real eye-opening insight into the reasons why one book or another is either beloved or loathed by the librarian community.  You don’t even need a pass to watch them.  And it’s really the only time you can watch how a committee debates a book.
  • The Book Cart Drill Teams are a necessary part of any major ALA Conference.  At 4:00 on Sunday you will have a chance to see the cream of the book cart crop dancing, boogying, shimmying, and shining their way across the conference floor.  These are always amusing routines.  I have two goals in my life (both following in the footsteps of Jon Scieszka) and one of them is to someday emcee a bookcart drill team competition.  I even have a routine of my own I could do!  Until then, however, I’ll just enjoy watching these folks do their stuff.

And for this particular conference:

  • In the land o’ tweets, a snarky anonymous tweet has started called @ALATotebag.  It aims to proffer thoughts on the conference in its own way.  From it I learned about an ALA Dance Party taking place.  I’m not going myself, but if folks are in town and need to put on their boogie shoes, apparently it will take place Friday night, starting at 10:00 p.m. at Apex DC, 1415 22nd Street NW.  There will be an $8 cover.  Watch #aladanceparty for more details.
  • I got this from Carol at RIF: “Please join Reading Is Fundamental at a Macy’s sponsored tweetup/reception on Monday, June 28 between 5:30 and 8:00 p.m. at The Shakespeare Theatre Company (Sidney Harman Hall), 610 F Street NW, Washington , DC 20004; brief remarks at 6:30. Hope you can drop by to visit!”
  • Finally, I don’t know what the conference floor will hold, but there is one exhibit worth mentioning.  Word on the street has it that this kooky thing is going to be up and “running” at the Simon & Schuster booth.  It’s a cardboard version of a website.  And yes.  It works.

Keep an eye peeled, fellow citizens.

For more tips and tricks for navigating ALA, be sure to read Susan Kusel’s post on the topic at Wizards Wireless.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


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