Monday, June 25, 2012

Day Three: Wait, I thought this was supposed to be fun...

First up: my articles are starting to appear in Cognotes!

Second, I might not exactly take back what I said before about recommending Cognotes for StS volunteer time. This is because I'm learning that I really am putting in more than 16 hours. I go to a session they assigned, and then I write my little article, and then maybe I have time to eat something in the company of another person, and then I rinse and repeat. This is going to be great on my resume, no doubt, but I've had few opportunities to attend sessions of my own choosing.

One of those opportunities was yesterday, when another student took over writing about a session I was assigned to, giving me the chance to attend "Traditional Cultural Expressions: The Intersections of Indigenous Communities, Information Professionals, and Intellectual Freedom." And it turned out to be moderated by the Native American liaison librarian from the University of Minnesota! The content very much reinforced what I have been learning about working with Native (and other diverse) populations, which is that it's important to have humility and be willing to admit it when you don't know something. Allow your contacts in that community to be your guide. This is an example of the sort of great thing I've been finding that happens here: while there may be more than 10,000 of our kind around at any time (for a likely total across all days of at least 20,000 librarians), you find your niche and meet your people. It's still a huge and overwhelming experience, but I've started to see some familiar faces as people with the same interests choose some of the same sessions.

(I don't know what this says about me and the other St. Kate's peeps, though, since I've hardly seen them at all. I think several of them have been in the exhibit hall a lot.)

That reminds me--I'm sadly not a good guide to the exhibit hall since I've had barely any time to go there. I had to ask Deni to go to a book signing for me today. But I'm thinking about seeking a guest post on strategies for attacking it, so we'll see! I think I may win the prize for librarian who leaves Annual with the fewest ARCs.

Anyway... The other sessions I attended yesterday were on e-books (review of which appears in Cognotes, and was fascinating) and speculative fiction. Spec fic: a.k.a. "The George R.R. Martin Session," was lovely! As a special surprise (because I don't remember her being advertised), Minnesota's own Lois McMaster Bujold was there. I won't bother explaining to you how awesome that was, but if you know her work, you understand. Then there was a third author who I didn't know and wasn't too excited about. All three authors talked about how reading speculative fiction changed their lives for the better. But, it turned out the third guy's story was the best of all, and as a speaker he was by far the wittiest and most engaging of the three authors. "Third guy" no longer: his name is Blake Charlton, and his Spellwright looks like it might be good YA fantasy. His personal story is that he was severely dyslexic but finally learned to read in his early teens so that he could find out what happened in science fiction novels his parents were reading to him. He's currently a physician and published author on the side (yeah, one of those people). He was so fantastic that he's the one I asked Deni to get a signed book from for me today, as mentioned above.

I'm not going to go into too much detail about the sessions I attended today because they will be in upcoming issues of Cognotes, so you can read about them there (not that I will ever say anything bad in those articles... if you want the real dirt, we can talk in person). But, today was when I began to think what I said in the subject line of this post. Wasn't this supposed to be fun? I worked all day today, furiously taking notes and stuffing my face with a horrible convention center wrap while I typed an article before running to the next thing, and then I presented this afternoon. I only had to present to eleven people, and it was much like being in class--I can definitely say St. Kate's prepares you to give a solid presentation. Still, this was after abandoning ship before the concert ended last night so I could make it back on a hotel shuttle and practice my talk. I'm a responsible little worker bee, so that's how I roll, but I do think there's something to be said for being social as a means of networking (and not just networking in professional sessions), and I feel I've missed out on that somewhat.

But the good news is that I've at least had some wonderful (in-person) social networking experiences. In addition to the Korean food bonding excursion I mentioned in a previous post, I had a chillaxed dinner with members of the Progressive Librarians Guild tonight, including surprise celebrity guest Rory Litwin, founder of Library Juice. I met a couple of people I'm kind of sad I might never see again, although we did exchange contact info. And, last night, we met some other awesome librarians in the crowd at the ProQuest Scholarship Bash. Let me tell you: when they said the Rock Bottom Remainders were playing, somehow I didn't realize it would be a real rock concert experience. But it was! And it was great! Let's see if I can get a photo in here...

I was reminded of how much authors and librarians love each other. I think we're the soulmates of the publishing industry. Or, they really are our rock stars, and we are their groupies. Either way, it works for me.


  1. Your Braverman presentation was fantastic! And the topic generated such a great discussion. Goooooood job!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! I feel like it was a really safe place to have a first conference presentation and am just continuously grateful for the opportunity.