Hello fair readers!
As promised, I wanted to go over a bit of what my experience at the American Library Association 2009 was like to endure. And yes, I used the word endure. It actually did remind me somewhat of going to a outdoor festival. But with less of this
And more of this…
This being my very first ALA I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I had several goals, being:
1) meet folks
2) learn stuff
3) have fun
Seems simple right? Lets go over these starting with my most successful endeavor…1) meet folks.
This is generally what I’m good at…meeting people. I actually enjoy running around a room and introducing myself to people…hopefully not totally weirding them out in the process. And I can say, 100%, that networking was hands down the best thing I came away from ALA with. I figured out how to get my card to people, how to start talking about potential future projects with people and most importantly I meet some really amazing peers that make me proud to be a librarian…
So for this, ALA, I will thank you. I met many people I probably never would have encountered on my own. And I thank you for that.
So lets get to pesky #2, as this is where my reality check came in. My goal to “learn stuff” was modest but in reality I wanted to learn a lot. But when it came to sitting down in a session and listening to people try to teach me?
Well, lets put it this way…..seriously librarians?
I had sessions where the “presenter” didn’t even bother to freaking show up. There was a powerpoint presentation with an audio recording over it. And quite frankly, research methods aren’t going to be too enthralling in the first place. But if you remove that human interaction, I will almost guarantee a zero learning factor. I went to one insanely brilliant session with The Shanachies (click on the pic above) and really…that was about it. I did hear that the Neil Gaiman & Craig Thompson session was amazing. So I will be fair to that. And I am sure there were some really amazing sessions that I just didn’t go to…
but I learned the following things at what I stupidly chose to attend: you can publish the same thing over and over again as long as you change it a little; you can publish research that others have already done, just change it a little; you don’t even need to research things you are genuinely interested in…as long as you get published.
Excuse my language but f*ck that. My reality check was that I saw the librarian I never want to become. And quite frankly, it scared the hell out of me. Next ALA I will have to pay special attention to what sessions I go to because I left on Saturday feeling like I was in the wrong profession.
Thankfully my #3 goal came to rescue at just the right time…
Sunday was the day. It was the day that I remembered why I wanted to become a librarian in the first place. I met with like-minded people, heard about brave exciting new services and policies, and interacted with people who get the mind going!! Who are doing new and amazingly beautiful things in the library world. And this, my fair readers, is insanely fun.
Overall ALA was totally worth it. Even with the reality check. In fact I would go so far as to say especially with the reality check. At several points during the conference I had people tell me that I look like a children’s librarian. And I never really knew how to respond to this…but now I think I do. Children’s librarians go at things with spunk, energy and a child like positivity that is not to be matched in the profession. If I can continue on my path in libraries and stay this way…then I am doing something right. I am happy I went to ALA. I am happy I came off as a children’s librarian instead of an academic one. And I am so blessed and pleased to have met with all of you.
It was a lifechanger.
Have a lovely week fair readers. And stay tuned