Monday, June 25, 2012

Day Four: In which I visit the exhibitors, finally.

It turns out that the conference dies a long and slow death. Were it not for my Student to Staff obligations, I could have left perfectly happy tonight after a relatively slow day. Although there were still plenty of people in the convention center, the energy was completely different, and I overheard a lot of "now that the conference is done" comments. Nevertheless, I had two long sessions to attend and report on, and I also have to report on the closing session tomorrow morning. Now that I have more time for it, I am cleverly using Acrobat Pro to clip my articles for you and paste them below as images. Here you go:

Now that that's done: I finally had something of a genuine exhibit hall experience today. It was completely unintentional. I went in at 10:30 to meet up with Deni, and somehow in the first few minutes found myself with four free books in hand, one signed by an author. And they look like things I want to read! So, apparently, I might not need to ask for a guest blogger with strategies after all. Seriously, all you had to do was be breathing and able to pick things up to get free ARCs (Advance Reader Copies, now that I'm so in the know). This was enough to swiftly and completely win me over to the exhibit hall cause, and I bailed on an opportunity to go to a nonrequired session so that I could pick up a free tote bag and start grabbing. I observed but did not partake in the last-day phenomenon of lining up to grab the display copies exhibitors didn't want to take home with them, but I did get enough to fill one moderately-sized box at the Post Office. Oh, did I not mention there's a Post Office in the exhibit hall? Yeah, brilliant. Although it was clearly approaching hangover from the long party of the weekend, with mailing materials strewn around and sweaty, tired people sitting on the floor to load their boxes with swag. So it is that my recommendation for future generations of conference newbies is this: if you don't want to monitor Twitter for author visits and wait in line for particular things, that's fine. Just mosey around the hall when you have a chance. You will wind up covered in books, I promise.

(I did end up buying one from Library Juice Press, in part because I am using a chapter of it, and in part because Rory Litwin asked me to visit the booth. Which was merely good business sense, I know, but I am easily impressed that way.)

So, I'll still have a little to say tomorrow and will at least post my remaining Cognotes articles, but after relaxing in my hotel room for the first time in what seems like a million years, I'm starting to get a bit of distance from the hectic core of the conference experience. I can see how it serves a lot of different purposes for different people. For some, like students and the #partyhard people, it's primarily a chance to network. For others who have been out of school for a while, it's a chance to keep abreast of the library trends that we who are still students are fortunate to be exposed to all the time. For many, it's a chance to reconnect with friends they don't see anywhere else. And, for the crazy joiners (maybe me some day?), it's a time to buckle down and get some national committee work done (although I hear Midwinter is even more about that). For all of us, though, it's the unique and wonderful chance to feel, for a few days, like librarianship is the center of the universe. Even though we're still talking about the challenges we face the whole time, we're also cosseted and celebrated and gifted at every turn. The world is full of people who care about the same things we do, and we're all happy to meet each other. Soon we'll all go back to our daily grinds, and some will be fairly solitary at their posts, but while they were here, they knew they weren't alone. Sorry, I get overblown when I'm feeling wistful. I really do think it's an experience all librarians should try.


  1. Yes! It is one of few times when we are the center of the universe, and thanked and loved and appreciated by others. Every author I heard speak had nothing but love for librarians. It was wonderful. What's not wonderful - this morning I need to carry 3 super full and heavy boxes to my local post office........

    1. this so captures the feel of the waning conference that it made me nostalgic for all those years when I stood in line at the postoffice with an over abundance of goodies. Annual is truly a conference that everyone should try, as Sara advises. Librarians in our element! It's like Brigadoon, looming up once a year ...everything that seemed so terribly vital in the moment slowly recedes in the mist as you head for the airport. That's why the real hardcore addicts anticipate Midwinter's winter jolt. A recoverning ALAer