TechEssence and blog people generally

You probably saw it someplace else already, but I can’t get over the amazing list of superstars who will be contributing to TechEssence.info, a new site about “accurate, understandable explanations of important information technologies for libraries.” The site runs on drupal and is already an eye-catcher both in looks and content.

I’m envisioning some sort of future Laff-a-lympics that pitts the TechEssence folks against the LJ TechBlog team versus the ALA Techsource bloggers with their longstanding grudge match against the PLA Bloggers and the scrappy LISNewsters. I guess I’d be somewhere in the peanut gallery, someone will have to be there to blog about it, right?

my two posts from PLA yesterday

Today I went into the wilds of Filene’s Basement with my sister to get my boyfriend a suit, so no PLA for me, even though I heard that Jenny and Michael’s talk was excellent (and agree with Sarah and Suzi, what a nice bunch of people). My two posts from yesterday are linked here:

  • The Joy of Censorship by Joe Raiola – I enjoyed this talk a lot though I wwas worried I’d have trouble transcribing parts of it to the PLA blog because of all the swearing, but the PLAblog admins were pretty nice about it all, including the image!
  • Productive Aging – Are Public libraries Productive Partners? – it was really great to hear Mary Catherine Bateson issue a call to arms to take advantage of the boomers retiring and having lots of free time while they are still healthy and involved to get them to help their communities and help their country.

I tried pretty hard to go to sessions which wouldn’t be on the standard techie paths, and also tried to do write-ups quickly and efficiently. I liked getting to use the press room and I liked feeling that I was sharing some of my skills and abilities (quickly tossing up a well-linked and well written blog post for an event that someone else couldn’t go to) with other librarians. Sarah did a little PLA blogging, but also did write-ups of a few more sessions on her own website. I posted my final post on the PLABlog, even though I swore I was going to do a write-up on how terrible the bathrooms were

Elsewhere in the library conference world this weekend, Meredith lets us know that she didn’t suck in her talk in Computers in Libraries. Look at that talk about wikis, it does not suck.

two posts over at PLABlog

I went to two interesting sessions yesterday which I blogged about for PLA.

Creating a Digital Library on a Shoestring, Laurie Thompson and Sarah Houghton
Right of Center and Still Balanced – Susan Hill

I also went to a WebJunction event where I met some interesting regional librarians from Iowa, and a Library Journal awards dinner at the top of the Prudential celebrating the best small libraries where I met some new-to-Boston librarians from Missouri. It was a fun shindig made even better by the fact that the library who won last year, the Haines Borough Public Library is actually one that I’ve been to, way back when.

see you at PLA?

I’m at PLA for the next few days so updates will be over at the PLAblog, and you can follow along with the photostream at Flickr by looking at the pla2006 tag. You can’t sort by author so I suggest you read the whole thing if you’re interested in what a public library conference looks like. This is my first real post there. Early observations:

  • Free wireless everywhere for everyone, and even a special wireless lounge with couches and outlets. Huh, that looked easy.
  • The Hynes Convention Center is a really good place for a conference.
  • The PLAblog is not just a neat project from the perspective of people who can’t go to the conference, it actually is a great network of folks who are sort of known to be the techie-types who are visible to help with all sorts of things.
  • As always, I’m delighted to be staying with a person (my sister) and not in some wretched hotel. I have yet to stay in a hotel in the US that is at all better than my own room at home, or even most of the guestrooms I stay in. This may be one of those rural vs. urban things, but it sure is true.
  • It’s really nice to get to just write-up things for the blog and not a) be in charge and b) be on my way to a governance meeting. Steven and Andrea are doing an amazing job.
  • Brian Smith (also blogging for PLA) is as funny in person as he is on his site, just don’t call him the “laughing librarian”

first days of ALA

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.