Sunday, July 10, 2005

ALA Reflections

It's been almost two weeks since the conclusion of the 2005 ALA Annual Conference here in Chicago. In some ways, it feels like it's been much longer and in others, much shorter. I've been trying to synthesize the conference in my mind so that I could report here. Three things, concepts, what-have-you have stuck with me.

The first comes from the Opening General Session which featured Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and U.S. Senator Barack Obama. In two different ways, they made me think of the economy of the library. How does the library fit into its community's economy and how does it contribute, not only to the local, but the global economy? Daley discussed the resurgence of local economies in Chicago where branches were either newly built or redesigned. Obama discussed how libraries help disseminate the currency of an information economy. How can we use these two, seemingly disparate concepts to strengthen and improve our standing in our communities?

The second is the emergence of a new form of readers' advisory. I had been to a couple of sessions earlier this year on Non-Fiction Readers' Advisory. They were both well attended. When I went to the session on it at ALA, it blew my mind how many people were taking up the torch for it. It's kind of amazing to be witnessing the birth of a "new" concept, well, more like a new practice, in LIS.

Third, what makes a reference work a classic? The session I went to had four different speakers all with their own definitions/concepts of makes a reference work a classic. I think that if you work in any kind of reference, you need to make that determination for yourself.

That's it for now. I'll be back around August 10th or so. Depending on how strong the mood hits me, I may do a hit-and-run post here or there. Or, I might not. See you when I get back!

Monday, July 04, 2005

ALA recovery

I meant to post about ALA much sooner than this, but I'm still trying to get my brain back in order. This post is to let you all know that I've decided to take a little summer vacation. I've been feeling overwhelmed with getting ready for ALA, going to ALA, and now trying to recover from ALA. There are still a lot of things that I need to wrap up from the conference that I just haven't been able to sit down and do because my mind has been in a whirl. What this means is that sometime this week, I will do a wrap-up post of ALA as I have to write up a report for work and then I'm going to take a month off. I only wish I could also take a month off of work at the same time :)