According to co-founder Jenna Freedman, a librarian at Barnard College in New York City, “We thought [the protestors] would need reliable sources of information in a time when all hell was expected to break loose and rumors would probably be flying around everywhere. Our job in the street was to be calm and knowledgeable and to have good resources available to us in the RR kits or at the other end of a phone.”
It’s been really great seeing all the activity at ALA. Attendance seems to be up from last year and the convention center, though far from everything, is a nice place to comfortably hold over 10,000 people. Here is a photo of most of them as they listened to Barack Obama yesterday. Here’s a quickie rundown of some things I’ve been doing:
- Membership meeting has a quorum, which was immensely gratifying. There were a little under 200 people there. They introduced and passed a Resolution on the Connection between Iraq and Libraries which spoke to the incredible disruptions both culturally and economically of the ill-supported invasion and occupation of Iraq. My chapter councilor Trina Magi spoke to the resolution and it again made me happy to say “rah rah Vermont!”
- Went to a Radical Reference meeting in the Chicago Temple. They have over 180 volunteers now and even though I’m only tangentially involved, it’s great to see that project growing and remaining useful even after the immediate task of doing street reference at the RNC is behind them.
- I got to meet incoming ALA President Leslie Burger and just-about president Michael Gorman at back-to-back events on Friday. I think Leslie is going to bring some really interesting panache and energy to the ALA presidency. She talked about turning ALA into an “army of 65,000″ to really make libraries relevant to people, and useful to themselves. Michael seems to be speaking for himself just fine lately, but I have to say that blog comments aside I’m interested to see what his connections and dedication to traditional scholarship mean for the direction of his presidential term.
- The PLA Blog has been getting a lot of good commentary, though it still needs to crawl its way up the Google rankings [so link to the PLA Blog]
- The LITA blog is up, running, and really a great looking and well thought out contribution to the profession. I really hope that both of these blogs, contrasted with blogs like mine, Eli’s, Andrea’s Meredith’s and all the others, will show people the wide range of what blogging does, and how it’s just a medium for delivering all sorts of content.
- On a related note, it’s been great having people come up to me, say hello, say they read this blog and tell me [sometimes] about theirs. ALA for me is all about meeting people and passing the introductions around.
Last night Eli and Laura and I went in search of a place to watch the fireworks from. We were heading to Andrea’s, but I’d confused the Hyatt with the Hilton and we were in the wrong one. We went into McCormick figuring there had to be some lakefront space somewhere and wound up wandering through a completely empty convention center that was sparsely staffed by some sleepy guards. We wound up on some outdoor deck area, far away from everyone, where we could just make out sounds of the band [Chicago?] and had an unimpeded view of the explosions over the lake. It was a high point of an otherwise already excellent day.
Today I’ll just be hanging out at the McCormick Center and the Hyatt, doing governance work and hopefully having enough energy to hang out and have a good time with the bloggers at the shindig tonight.