reflections on New Orleans, part 2

July 6, 2006

I think the things I had to say about my recent trip to New Orleans that were NOT about socializing have flown out of my head. But I’ll see what I can put together.

The purpose of going to New Orleans, of course, was to attend the annual American Libraries Association conference. And I did attend it, although I spent the majority of the time walking around trying to figure out what the point of it all was. It was my first conference – such a reaction should not be surprising.

I spent the first day attending sessions about job searching. I wish I hadn’t. After hearing various people talk about strategies, all of which conflicted with each other, I came away with disgruntlement in my belly. It appears that things are as I thought they were – some employers want certain things from job seekers, some employers want completely different things. There is very little way to determine exactly which employer wants what, so it is best to just go about being who I am and hope that I find the right people/the right people find me. It doesn’t seem like a good idea to waste so much effort engaging in handwringing about the metasearch. I should just continue to honestly and professionally present myself and hope that works out eventually. I’m not very good at playing games anyway.

The second day I attended sessions about cataloging. I wish I would have attended similar sessions on the first day as well. One of the sessions I attended made everything worthwhile. It was Catalog Transformed: From Traditional to Emerging Models of Use. Andrew Pace and Cindy Levine demonstrated NCSU’s fancy new catalog, which I’d already heard about and used before, but I hadn’t seen the dog and pony show yet (and it was entertaining). Jina Wakimoto from Boulder and John Blyberg from Ann Arbor District Library also had some very compelling, frankly exciting things to say about the catalog. They said things that I’ve been thinking about, things that I gave a presentation about last year, things that excite me about cataloging. I came out of it exhilarated, and, well, just really glad to be a cataloger, with such interesting things on the horizon.

Another thing – the convention center in New Orleans is huge. It seriously takes like half an hour to walk the whole length of it. I spent some time walking around the exhibit hall, but didn’t find too much to keep my interest. I am not responsible for dealing with vendors at my library, so it wasn’t really important for me to engage with book publishers, shelving manufacturers, etc. (not yet, anyway), and I’m not very excited by collecting free crap. (I’ve got enough crap in my house as it is.) Although I did get a little bit of free stuff – some of the book publishers had stacks of uncorrected proofs of upcoming books to take, plus I got a funny little business card holder made out of the materials used to make archival boxes, and a water bottle from Microsoft (which was very useful, I might add). And things for the girls – free magazines from the Cricket empire, notepads, Mardi Gras beads. Walking through the exhibits is very, very tiring. It is huge. In the future I will likely have more of a reason to check out the exhibits, but for this year, it was just a little bit disappointing.

I wish I’d brought my laptop with me – it would have been nice to be able to check my e-mail and such with the free wireless in the convention center. But, oh yeah, my laptop was stolen last spring.


2 Responses to “reflections on New Orleans, part 2”

  1. Megan Says:

    Other things about ALA: there are many, many more uncorrected book proofs at Midwinter (my 50-pound bag coming back from San Antonio was proof enough); the free water bottle from Microsoft is one of the best pieces of swag I’ve ever picked up at the exhibits; when your girls get old enough to begin reading manga, the comic book pavilion is worth checking out; Midwinter is a business meeting, not a programming meeting, so if you go, be prepared; and, programming at Annual is completely hit-or-miss – sounds like you got some of both. Glad you enjoyed your experience, even if the conference was big and disorienting.

  2. robin of rockville Says:

    mikey said google had good swag, he got a nice moleskine journal.

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