Sunday, June 27, 2010

ALA Sunday Update

Welcome to Day 4 of my ALA experience! You'll notice that I skipped over Day 3. Yesterday was so jam packed that I didn't have time to share with you.

I did not have to work on Saturday for the Student-to-Staff Program so I had a chance to wander The Stacks (or the exhibit hall) in the morning. Talk about overwhelming! Wall-to-wall vendors spread out over an enormous area. There are database providers, booksellers, furniture dealers, jewelry makers...and the list goes on and on. A word of advice that any conference goer will give you - wear comfortable shoes!! You'll be doing miles of walking.

I decided to listen in on a few demonstrations, one of which was Mango who creates language learning products. It looked interesting and they lured me in with a mango slushy, mmmm.... The demonstration lasted about 15 minutes and the group learned to say a few words in Japanese. The database looks user-friendly and seems to provide quick results through repetition. I also listened in to vendors selling automated material check-in machines and single computers that can run up to 10 monitors (a "green" company of course).

The Stacks are fun to peruse, but I'd suggest taking a look at the Exhibit Hall guide and pre-select booths you know you want to visit. Otherwise, you may get sidetracked.

In the afternoon I listened in on a session put on by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table titled "Burning Man, Libraries, and the 21st Century: The Intersection of the Individual and Society." The session was a conversation between Larry Harvey, the Burning Man event founder, and Lauren Christos, librarian and Burning Man attendee. They discussed Burning Man ( and the culture of the community. The main topics of discussion were freedom, rules and privacy. Learning about Burning Man and the type of society created during this one week event in August was captivating. Besides Mr. Harvey saying libraries are "like a temple" to him and a brief discussion of the now defunct bookmobile at the event, there wasn't much mention of libraries which was a bit disappointing.

I also attended the Opening General Session with keynote speaker Toni Morrison. Her speech was lively, inspiring and down to earth. Her passion for libraries was felt as she described her first jobs at her own public library and how she is an advocate for libraries today. This was a great way to end the evening.

Stay tuned for more Day 4 blogging....


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