big news for Jenny and ALA

Jenny Levine has got herself a job helping move ALA into the 21st Century. Congrats to everyone.

ALA, at large, not at large

I found out via a roundabout way that my bid to be the Vermont Library Association’s chapter councilor wasn’t successful. This is good news and bad news. The woman they elected was probably more qualified than me, and will probably not dislike her time on Council as much as I have historically. I am not sure if she will advocate as strongly for web site improvements and increased technological access to ALA generally, but I’m sure there are things she is planning on promoting. I would have liked to have been a Councilor representing a specific group and not just the “at large” world but I’m young and there is still time.

For me, this means that ALA in New Orleans is the last meeting I will go to as a Councilor, for a while, if not forever. This means I can, if I want, cancel my membership to ALA. It means I can plan a Fourth of July party without being on my way back from a conference. It means that I don’t have to travel out of state twice a year in addition to all the other travelling I do. It means I probably won’t try to explain some of ALA’s decisions that I find inexplicable. It means I’ll get more involved with my local chapter — the irony being that if I had been at VLA’s annnual meeting, I might have had more of a shot at getting elected, but I was in Ohio at the Small Libraries Conference talking about the digital divide, and the libraries I worked with back home.

I’ve been following some of the ALA L2 kerfuffle which I was more interested in as a friend of Michael Stephens and Jenny Levine than as an ALA member. As a Councilor, I didn’t hear word one about this endeavor. As a member, I’m not surprised that ALA chose to hire a consultant group that talked a better game than they delivered, though for them the price was right. All I know is that if your consultant starts making blog posts like this one complaining about being complained about, and not getting paid enough, it’s going to be a hard tailspin to pull out of. I wish everyone the best possible luck making the best of things.

my talk from TLA

I’m sitting in a meeting room in Houston Texas listening to Jenny Levine and Michael Stephens talk about wikis and blogs and rss. I just wrapped up my talk, which is online: Revolting Librarians Redux Review. It went well. The next talk (on paranormal romances, no joke) started in ten minutes so I didn’t get to sit around and gab with people like I usually do. Thanks very much to people who came by and said hello, and especially Jeffrey Levy for handling all of my arrangements and being a thorough and capable host/handler.

ALA: jenny doesn’t speak here anymore

Jenny gives great presentations, is not full of herself, and knows what she’s talking about. She’s well prepared, gracious and charming. When she gets pissed off about something, I generally give her the benefit of the doubt that her rancor is completely justified and probably even understated compared to whatever offense she or her patrons have endured. This is just a long-winded way of saying that her objections to crazy ALA policies seem right on target to me. Keep in mind that when it comes to the topics she works on — blogging, digital rights management, gaming, audio content in libraries — she’s not just an expert she is one of the authorities and I’m frankly a little suprised even that she has to deal with this sort of thing. Maybe it’s the sort of thing we can sort out on Council… my Council position that I am not re-upping for, for somewhat similar reasons.

I will never accept another invitation to speak at an ALA-related conference until they reverse this ludicrous policy of CHARGING THEIR SPEAKERS TO SPEAK. It’s insane, absurd, surreal, and unethical. You don’t have a conference without your speakers. I understand they can’t reimburse speakers for travel expenses, but the very least they can do is comp their speakers’ conference registration fees. And the whole conference, too, not just a day. You either value your own professionals or you don’t, and the current policy tells me you don’t.