Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Whole New World

I've been home for a couple of days and have begun to process all of the experiences and information from ALA Annual . This conference resulted in some paradigm shifts for me: I finally "got" Twitter and learned that it really is a good mode of communicating valuable information in real time. I tweeted several of the sessions I attended and got positive feedback on my L4L Training4Trainers tweets (#aasll4l) from one of my MSLA colleagues: "Great stuff! Keep it coming!" I was also flattered to find that my tweets made Library Journal's Pick of Top ALA Tweets on Saturday AND Sunday. If you'd like to read other attendees' ALA conference tweets, search on Twitter for #ala2009.

I also learned that you can sometimes catch sessions that you weren't able to attend. LITA (the Library and Information Technology Association, a division of ALA) had two offerings on the Monday schedule that looked interesting, but I missed the first one, Top Technology Trends, because I didn't allow enough travel time. I was thrilled to learn after I got home (via another attendee's tweet), that the presentation was streamed on UStream.

The second LITA session was the President's Program, Make Stories, Tell Stories, Keep Stories. It left me curious to find out more about DOK, a library in Delft, The Netherlands, whose mission is to be the most innovative library in the world. Three DOK employees toured North American libraries in 2007 and produced a popular video about about gaming libraries. I was intrigued by their humor, fresh vision for what libraries can be, and innovative uses of technology.

These programs were so thought-provoking that I'm considering become a member of LITA. Membership is open to anyone interested in leading edge technology and applications for librarians and information providers, and I think joining will help me to see what's coming up around the bend so I can try to foresee what this will mean for school libraries.

There were so many experiences packed into four days at Annual - and I've only written about a few here - that my mind is still spinning with all of the possibilities for our profession. I'd like to thank MSLA for allowing me to attend these national conferences where I can learn from and share my love for school libraries with brilliant colleagues from across the country.

Coretta Scott King Awards and The Inaugural Ball

Seven AM found me bright eyed and bushy tailed (ok - sleepy and yawning) at the breakfast for the 40th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Awards. Kadir Nelson won the author award for his book "We are the ship: The story of Negro League baseball," while the illustrator award went to Floyd Cooper for "The blacker the berry." The various honorees, as well as the gold medalists were profuse in their thanks to the CSK committee for the honors bestowed upon them. It was a wonderful time of solidarity.

I attended Camila Alire's Open House Reception in her suite, then prepared for the Inaugural Ball, held in the fabulous ballroom of the Hilton. I felt like Cinderella, as it was my first Ball, and it was magnificent. A live band played a mixture of 70's disco, modern songs, as well as Latin numbers, while a huge crowd of librarians cut a fabulous rug all night long. I danced non stop for hours, and when I dragged up to my room at 12:05, I definitely felt like I had turned back from Cinderella to my usual self. What a wonderful time! I am so happy for Camila, as she is a good friend and will be a fabulous leader for ALA.

Another conference has passed, filled with a mixed bag of activities. As you can see by reading all these posts, each of us took something different home with us. Maybe you'll be inspired to attend for yourself and then get involved in some aspect. You definitely won't regret it.

See you at Midwinter in Boston 2010!