Saturday, July 11, 2009

Newbie at a Conference

Wow! It seems that's all I keep saying to myself - Wow!

Everyone told me that it's hard to describe being at National - and they are right. The amount of information that is given is almost overwhelming - even for a librarian!!!! Chicago is a great city, but for a first conference it's a little difficult to keep track of everything. Why? You need to develop a three dimensional schedule. Most conventions are held in a relatively small area unto itself. ALA Chicago is help over several square MILES. You need to be cognizant of not only time but place as well. Several attractive workshops had to be abandoned because of the realization that as of yet, we haven't perfected instantaneous transport! Other than that - It is amazing to realize that you aren't alone.

Librarians, especially school librarians, are sometimes isolated in our schools. We may be the only school librarian in our school or even in our district. Here, I have had conversations with academic librarians, specialists (the FBI Academy Librarian is sitting next to me at the computers - I didn't even KNOW they had a library!!!) vendors, etc. It's uplifting to know that there are so many professionals that share our values, and how friendly everyone is!

Talk about serendipity... Coming in from O'Hare on a 10 passenger bus - guess who was sitting right next to me? Sandy Kelly. Yep - we both travel a 1000 miles just to end up sitting next to each other making plans to meet up in all of this convention hoopla. The connections we make at convention may take us all over the world - or just to the next back yard!

And sorry Chicago - apparently we brought the rain in from MA. Rain Friday afternoon - Huge thunderstorm @ 3 - and they are predicting more rain today. Oh well. Just as long as it doesn't follow us back!

- Kelly Depin


Chicago News

Well, here I am in the Windy City, which didn't feel very windy. In fact, after what we've been enduring weatherwise in MA, it felt downright balmy - even with the early morning rains!

My flight didn't get into town with enough time to do any real sightseeing, so I walked around the general vicinity of the historic Hilton where I'm staying, and looked at the archival photographs on display which documented its storied history since 1927, including the 1968 Vietnam protests during the Democratic National Convention. Every president since Roosevelt has visited, including many foreign heads of state and it's quite lovely. It's also the site of many movies, including the banquet scene from Harrison Ford's "The Fugitive," among others, as well as having its heli-port used during the filming of "ER."

Afterwards, I went to the Convention Center to get the "lay of the land" for tomorrow's early meetings, then taxied to Second City. LLAMA had sponsored a night of improv there, and the comedy acts were quite entertaining.

It's now very late, and I have to get up very early. Not a great combo, but that's what happens at these conferences!

More tomorrow.......