Reports from New Orleans

People have been writing up their experiences from the ALA Conference in New Orleans. I’ll be linking to a few of them here. Feel free to send on conference summaries [not just conference blogging] and I’ll link to them.

Proud to Swim Home, New Orleans After Katrina by Karen Coyle
Notes on ALA Annual 2006 by Jim Casey
On New Orleans and the American Library Association by Phil Tramdack director of Bailey Library at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

You can find more incidental reportage and pictures by checking the PLA Blog, your favorite sites for the ala2006 tag or browsing HitchHikr’s ALA 2006 Annual Conference section which actually does pretty much the same thing with slightly more together layout.

I had a very good time in New Orleans. My small photoset is here on Flickr. There was an appealing synchronicity to the city’s struggles and renewal with a lot of the things that have been going on in my own personal life. It was a good time to do a lot of walking around and thinking, interspersed with talking library talk with friends and co-workers. I have been to New Orleans many times in the past fifteen years, and the city is so clearly changed. A lot of that change carries baggage, feelings of betrayal, of abandonment, of regret.

I found the librarians were well-received and it felt good to feel that money spent in New Orleans may have been helping a larger recovery effort. By the time I left, late Wednesday after the last Council meeting, the city felt empty and a little hollow. It was easier to pretend that things in New Orleans would be okay when there were 20,000 shopping and eating librarians populating the place, but by the time most people had gone home, there was an eerie emptiness and I just kept feeling “I hope things are going to be okay.”

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