2010 ALA Annual Wrap-Up

I’ve been absent for a bit because I was attending the 2010 ALA Annual conference in Washington, D.C.  You can read about my top five experiences at ALA at the PLA blog.

I was super-excited and nervous about it, because this year is my first year on a selection committee and we were having our first meeting at Annual.  Of course, it turned out splendidly, sitting around talking about books for hours is basically a dream come true, right, so I was in heaven.  It’s such a challenge and so exciting and I can’t wait to continue committee work throughout the year.

Thanks to Wendy, I had a chance to participate in a Friday YALSA pre-conference about using web 2.0 tools.  I presented a segment on having a 2.0 Teen Book Club during the “speed dating” practitioner’s portion.  It was so fun and made me so proud of my teen patrons. If you happen to be stopping by because of that segment, feel free to say hello/drop me a message!

Another major highlight was the chance to attend Library Advocacy Day, which I had the chance to participate in thanks to a stipend from the Friends of YALSA.  Having the opportunity to rally at the capital and speak with representatives from my state was empowering and inspirational, I’m excited to implement some of the things I learned.

All of Annual was great, as per usual.  Last year one of the ALA twitter accounts referred to Annual as “Brigadoon for librarians” which tickled my heart so much….that’s just what it’s like.  I always get excited and inspired by Annual and leave every year feeling like part of such a community and so ready to DO things.  I still have the handouts from the first year I ever went to Annual in 2006 as a library student.  When I look at the sessions I attended then, I see the course of my career now.  It made me know I was doing the right thing with my career!  I even saved a brochure about “how you can get involved in YALSA!

Oh, and the books!  I mailed home 42 (!) pounds of books and I know I had at least 25 pounds checked/carried on the the plane.  Lots and lots of good stuff, not just the ARCs! I also bought many hardcovers for cheap prices and got them signed, so those will make some great teen prizes.  And I did get some great ARCs, many of which I can’t wait to review for the site, so look forward to that sooner than later. (I offered up a spirited defense of the exhibits on the PLA blog.  I am so sick to death of the jokes about how librarians go to conference and cram as much useless, free junk into their bags as they can.  First of all, these criticisms always come off as inherently gendered and classist, which is weird in library circles, but I definitely feel it.  “Those rubes, grabbing up free junk, they’re so provincial and stupid!”  Second of all, the exhibits are a main drawing point for me, part of what I pay my money for, so I expect a return on that investment: they power my programming and I *never* think of what I get as useless.)

Don’t get me wrong, Annual is always such a huge investment of time and money and energy; it’s draining in every imaginable way.  But it’s also, every year, been worth it for me.  If you ever have the chance to attend conference, especially Annual, I can’t recommend it enough.  You’ll be worn out and frazzled and exhausted and spun around by the end, but you’ll be glad you went!

Now back to the business of this blog . . .