Tuesday, June 27, 2006

ALA 2006 Wrap-Up

Written at airport on Monday but didn't get to post until today. Commentary in brackets.

I just got dropped off at the airport by the shuttle for the flight home. Flight has been delayed about 20 minutes, which isn’t too bad. But hopefully no more cuz it’s my anniversary today and I want to get home for dinner w/ my wife! [Was delayed a little more but got home in time for dinner] So while I’m hanging out with one eye on World Cup and siping an Abita, I’ll type up my final rundown.

I’m glad I decided to come to ALA this year. I’m still not a hug fan of the mega-conference in general and felt like I got a ton more bang for MPOWs buck in terms of programs and networking from Computers In Libraries, but being in NOLA this year was a worthwhile experience. I’m glad I was able to attend the first of (hopefully many more) major conference in town post-Katrina. Everyone I talked to at the conference was impressed with the people of New Orleans. In the face of continuing adversity and uncertainty, every single person seemed glad to see the librarians. And was super friendly, from the first people I talked to at the Enterprise to the shuttle driver.

One other thing I didn’t get around to mentioning about NOLA was how weird it was to be in the Convention Center. One of my most vivid Katrina media memories was Mike “Brownie” Brown on NPR insisting that the reports of the horrendous conditions in the CC were just rumors. Immediately after a report from a correspondednt who was there. At the center. Not in Baton Rouge pining for a margarita. And the commentator (whose name escaes me) just letting into him. ALA really did an amazing job respecting what happened in LA and the Gulf Coast and calling attention to the continuing problems and challenges the areas face. But I really would have liked to have seen some acknowledgement of what happened at the Convention Center. Where we were going about our conference business. Maybe Anderson Cooper will address that today [did he?] or I just missed it. But definitely worth remembering the completely inhumane suffering that happened at our conference site.

The programs I went to weren’t bad either! As always there were multiple sessions I wanted to see in most of the time slots. And some back to back ones that just weren’t doable geographically. And some stuff after I needed to leave. Really liked Chris Anderson’s Long Tail talk, even though I’m pretty familiar with the concept. Wish I’d had time for him to sign a book, and I guess I would have now! Tech Trends and the LITA President’s program were great too. Think I might have to consider joining LITA as I ended up going to a lot of their programs. Any LITA folks want to talk me into it??

Another great thing was randomly running into my co-workers everywhere I went. It’s always cool to spend time with people you work with (at least a little) outside the office. Get to discuss work and non-work issues in a much more casual environment. I chatted with some random stangers at sessions and met some cool people at blogger bash, but I really liked the interaction at smaller conferences better. At something like ALA you talk to someone for 5 minutes and will probably never run into them again. Smaller events give a little more possibility for extended interaction, really getting more of a feel of what people are about. And picking their brains for ideas. But I guess folks get that at ALA through division and chapter meetings, which I’m not involved it.

So to sum up, it might be a blue moon before I go to ALA again but 2006 conference was great. People great. Programs great. NOLA hot. Bloggers rock. Continue to remember and support the region (especially the libraries).

I really wanted to type gooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllll during this post. But still 0-0. [Ended 0-0, Ukraine won 3-0 on penalty kicks]


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