a few ALA wrap-ups

I finally made it back to my house after an extended trip home [extra time in airports, extra time in Boston, extra time on the bus] and it’s great to be here. I felt that this was one of my most productive conferences yet, even though it was a bit lacking in the “seeing all the friends I don’t see often enough” scale. I’m still putting together a wrap up, but in the meantime, feel free to read the ones I’ve found online:

  • Pink Sneakers blog
  • Karen’s LITA Councilors report
  • Rochelle’s Council wrap-up from which I will pull this list of notable resolutions and add one that was important to me at the end
    • Resolution in Suport of Immigrants Rights to Free Public Library Access
    • Resolution on Disinformation, Media Manipulation & the Destruction of Public Information
    • Resolution on the Connection between the Iraq War and Libraries
    • Resolution on Threats to Library Materials Related to Sex, Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation
    • Resolution on Support for Community Broadband Initiatives [paraphrased for now]
  • Some official numbers from ALA, record-breaking attendance.

later days of ALA

I’m working on a longer report about Council and Membership meetings, but for now, here are some things you can go look at.

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.

libraries for sale? how commerce affects public services

Knowledge for Sale: Are America’s Public Libraries on the Verge of Losing Their Way? [pdf] Utne reader article by Chris Dodge former Hennepin County [MN] librarian and current Utne Reader Librarian. Very very good. You might also recognize a familiar face or two [hi Jenna!] in an articfle in the same issue The New Monastic Librarians [pdf]. What do they mean by monastic? Dodge Explains

Like those who once copied texts as a way to save them for a more enlightened time, a cadre of “new monastic individuals” must take up the task of protecting the knowledge they love.