To Take, Or Not To Take?

That's my dilemma at each conference. Do you take the entire bulky program book with you each day, in case you find yourself needing to change a session--or do you go by the pocket planner, which has titles, times, and locations, but no helpful blurb to enable your decision?

I generally just take the pocket planner. I highlight the main session I think I'd like to attend for each time slot, and then circle 2 - 3 "backup" programs of interest for each time. However, I'm running into the problem this time that my backup programs are often located so far from the original program, that if I change my mind right before a session starts, I'm out of luck. Or I simply can't re-examine the blurb to determine if it would be worth hiking two blocks or getting to the session ten minutes late.

Actually, the personalized schedule you can print out from ALA is pretty compact--mine, including the 2 - 3 alternate sessions for each time, was less than two pages. Since it's already small, it might be nice if we could choose to print the session blurbs in the same document.

Another option would be to include a map of the entire area--the conference campus--and highlight all housing and all conference meeting/program locations. I looked and looked for this info in the conference guide, but didn't see it. (Let me know if it was actually there--I may have just been blind.) Since I tend to stay in non-ALA sponsored hotels and walk a lot to/from conference, an area map is helpful--and it lets me know ahead of time when conference sessions are too far away from other locations for them to be feasible in my schedule.

All right, well I just enjoyed a video chat with my husband, and got a bit of work done using the convention center's wifi, so I'm off to find some lunch and an ATM. Then I'll probably work some more until my next session--I have state library association business that I really need to take care of before I'm back Monday evening.



No creative title tonight... I'm just too darned tired to think more.

I went to four programs today, and they were all really interesting, but the best was definitely the LITA session on Information Technology and Information Rights of the Individual, with four scifi/fantasy writers. The highlight was that Cory Doctorow spoke (allow me a fangirlish "squee!" here), but each of the authors were fantastic: Eric Flint, Vernor Vinge, and Brandon Sanderson. In addition, Tor Books generously handed out bags with catalogs and a book by each author to the first 150 people (there were easily 400 in the room). I got there 45 minutes early, and thus got one of the prized bags and a seat on the second row. Plus, the authors generously stayed after the program to autograph everyone's copy. I scored waaay better at that one session than the time I spent in the Exhibits Hall today!

But the best part was simply hearing them all speak on the topic. I took notes, so I'll be posting them a little later, along with my notes on the other sessions of the day.

I don't think I'll be posting more photos until I get home, though--I simply don't have time to keep up with my content at the moment.

Suffice to say--if you get a chance to hear any of those four authors speak, go!


Happy Hour

Met quite a few other librarians today, wandered through Downtown Disney, caught up with my husband, who is now back in the States, got a bit of work done, and met up with the GODORT crew. I stayed to chat quite a bit longer than I had planned, caught up in a conversation about (what else?) shared regionals. It was particularly nice to be able to chat for quite awhile with Jesse and Ellen.

The venue this year was, I thought, quite a bit better than '07 in DC. It was still a bar in a Marriott, but this one was much roomier, and there was a lot of seating, which made it easier to navigate, as well as hold actual conversations.

I had briefly considered going to the Gaming event after the Happy Hour, but I ended up staying later than expected. I've also got to look over my schedule for tomorrow one last time, so here I am, back at the laptop.


In Anaheim!

Well, after leaving my house at 4:30am, flying out at 6:40am, getting to LAX at 7:40 (California time), and then spending a fun, long day sight-seeing around LA, Hollywood, and Santa Monica... I'm wiped out.

I did manage to pick up my registration materials at the Convention Center--I'm always glad when I can get that done the day before conference truly begins. Since the shuttles weren't yet in operation, I walked the 1.2 miles there and the 1.2 miles back... which was pleasant and gorgeous, but perhaps not the best situation in which to wear high-heeled sandals. Ah, well.

I've been going through the program guide and exhibits guide this evening, and I think I'm about done for the night--just want to see if I can manage to edit and upload a few photos to my Flickr account first.

Observations thus far:
  • wish the shuttles ran on the preconference day, although I'm sure it's not cost-effective
  • am very pleased to have free wifi not only at ALA, but for once in my hotel room (usually I just get wired connection for free, staying at Marriott locations)
  • also very pleased to have had my Residence Inn room upgraded for free--I'm in what they call a "penthouse suite," which is insanely roomy, particularly for one person. I have three--yes, three--closets in this place.
  • I have far too much "extra work" to be doing in the evenings when I'd rather be vegging, having fun, or editing/uploading photos. Meh.
  • I've already met several interesting and fun people; Matt from Melbourne with Biblioteca (shared the shuttle ride from LAX), and a woman from Library Journal with whom I swapped thunderstorm stories.
  • I'm already sunburned on both shoulders... and now get to spend four conference days toting my laptop backpack on those very same shoulders. That was spectacular planning on my part...
This isn't even all of the selected photos from today.... but it's a start.


Blogging ALA: Prep!

I'm always amazed at the necessary last-minute flurry of activity. It's only exacerbated this year, since in addition to my daily work, my last-minute GODORT stuff, my TLA stuff, and personal things like packing and dropping off yet another vehicle for repairs... I'm also trying to finish writing up a summary of my work this year for my performance review, while simultaneously preparing to re-apply for my current position (which has been re-posted as a permanent position, since I've been a visiting librarian for the past 2+ years).


If you want to reach me in Anaheim, I'm at the Residence Inn Anaheim Maingate, which is something like 1.4 miles from the Convention Center, and I'll have my cellphone with me. I'll try to do the typical email check, but that gets harder and harder each conference, as I get busier and busier.

Let me know if you'd like to do lunch, or something, though! If you don't already have my cell, email me at work (the gmail account linked here will probably languish while I'm gone).

Have fun, kiddos!



PolitiFact.com has a remarkable tool for finding the story behind candidate's comments, particularly attacks on their rivals, called the Truth-O-Meter. A lovely bonus is that they even fact-check candidates' videos!

I have to give props to my student assistant (aka CRS Report Ninja Assistant), Claire, for finding this on the always-informative FreeGovInfo. She's putting together a presidential elections-themed display for our floor, and we're trying to showcase documents, informational websites, and common questions about elections (a FAQ that will include an "ask us more!" spot with our department's reference contact information).

I can't wait to see what she comes up with, based on her awesome sketch and the bang-up job she did on a CRS-report-themed display and a World War posters display.

CFP: Reclaiming the Comic Book Canon

This panel sounds awesome... I'm considering sending in a proposal to this. Thought I'd send it out for other possibly-interested parties, as well.

CFP: Reclaiming the Comic Book Canon (NEMLA, due 9/15)
Location: Massachusetts, United States

American Sessions at
40th Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
Feb. 26-March 1, 2009
Hyatt Regency - Boston, Massachusetts

No longer exclusively the realm of fanatic collectors, outcast misfits, or sneering speculators, the comic book is now entering art galleries, multiplexes, and book clubs. But when they become the lucrative, marketed, popularized property of all, what gets lost? Moreover, what of the authority? This panel looks to compare the late 20th century rise of the graphic novel and comic book series, particularly the new discourses being employed by the widening audience/market for the form in the present context. How have standards changed? What machinery has been put in place concerning the analysis of the comic book, and how does that now reflect back on its creation?

Submit a 500-word proposal and brief vita to panel chair A. David Lewis by 9/15/08.

Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee)

A. David Lewis
Boston University
Department of Religion
145 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
Email: adl@bu.edu
Visit the website at http://www.nemla.org


Prepping for ALA...

I've had some correspondence regarding this blog lately, and I fully intend to respond before Thursday, but at the moment am trying to keep afloat and put out fires.... something that sounds metaphorically impossible, but I assure you, it's not.

I've been working on my ALA schedule for the past couple of hours, always a complex and confounding process--and, as usual, the most interesting sessions seem to be scheduled for the same times. Ah, well--compromise is a skill, I suppose.

Also a, shout-out to my fellow blogger and GODORT-er, Rebecca Blakely of McNeese Library, who is moderating a session on gender and race messages in Disney films, which I would dearly love to attend... were I not in a GODORT Publications Committee meeting at that time. (See my dilemmas?)

I will be arriving in Anaheim a day early, Thursday morning. I plan to take a mini-vacation to see friends, get to the Santa Monica pier, and soak up some of my native state's atmosphere. If you'll be in the area and have some free time Thursday/Friday for some adventure-seeking, let me know and maybe we can hang out for awhile.

Anyone else dreading the mail lines at the Exhibits Hall? With the added checked-baggage airline fees, I'll bet many more of us will be in that line this time around. I guess if nothing else, the line will be a good place to start all that ARC reading...



(aka: Tag Cloud goodness.)

Del.icio.us Tag Cloud (My "Wordle")

Michael Stephens was blogging about Wordle, and being that my email inbox was empty (for about 1.2 seconds), I thought I'd give it a try. My Flickr librarian pals tried random words or their resume, but I just went the boring, easy route of using my del.icio.us account.

And I have to say, it's a pretty accurate depiction of the topics that most occupy my thoughts.

Except maybe that "shoes" don't appear on here as often as you'd expect...


Shamelessly Promoting New Library Merchanise

CyberCafe Albino Squirrel Pen (closeup)

Get your own Cyber Cafe pen with the Albino Squirrel logo, now at the UNT Willis Library!

And can I just say, I am totally excited that they have a comfy rubbery grip in a lovely shade of UNT mean green? Okay then, consider it said.


My Boss, Depository Library Council Member

Now that it's official and the press release is out, let me finally burst out with the news I've been waiting to say: my boss, the incomparable Suzanne Sears, is on DLC this year! Yay!!

Of course, this means I'll be a bit busier for the next three years as well, helping to take on more departmental responsibilities when she's away. But it's exciting and huge news and I'll be interested to be so close to a council member.

(And yes, this would fall under the "docs nerd" category of posts to this blog.)

Dallas Library News

You've just got to love your local NPR affiliate, don't you? Well, I do--not only do they keep me up to date while entertaining me on my daily two-hour commute, but Dallas's KERA also provides a blog with updates for artsy, cultural happenings in the DFW area.

And this week they posted not one, but two library-related updates on that blog:
What more can you ask from a group that endorses libraries, infuses news with perspective and humor, and provides personalities like Terry Gross and Garrison Keillor?


Odd Patent: "Stuffed Horse Convertible to Unicorn"

No, I am not making this up. It's one of the weirdest things I have ever read--my dad somehow found it while looking up patents related to his work... um, which is engineering. Not engineering unicorns--he was as flabbergasted by the results as you might expect.

The killer is not that the patent is for a stuffed toy horse with accessories that make it a unicorn--which seems a bit odd for a patent to begin with--but the fact that the point of it all seems to be the story. The, er, rather eccentrically goofy story. A story with excerpts like this:

"Hi! My name is Sir Whitney. I'm a horse and my colors are all mixed up... My legs are brown and white striped which makes me look like I am wearing shorts and leg warmers."

...One day, Sir Whitney decided to trot to his favorite field to smell the daisies. "This spot looks comfy," he snorted as he sat down. "Eeeeeouch! jumpin' caterpillars!!! what was that?" Hollered Sir Whitney real loudly.

"Great grumbles, can't anyone get any sleep around here?" squinted Sadie, the groundhog. "What did'ya do to my Hornicorn?"

Also, it kills me every time the applicant refers to the stuffed horse/unicorn as "the fanciful main character."

Yeah. I read this at my parents' house this weekend, and ended up laughing so hard I had to sit down. Aren't Gov Docs great?


New Display Photos Up

We've been doing a "favorite/most interesting docs" display for several months now, and I started documenting it for June. Each month, a staff member picks one or more themes and makes a display with themed documents in the "comfy seating" section of our floor.

I'm currently pondering my own choices for August...