random thoughts on this & that

Sorry, not a very descriptive title, is it?

I’m feeling slightly less ambivalent about getting involved with ALA than I did a year ago. Mainly, that is because if the awesome LITA people I meet at Annual in June. Despite that, it still took me until yesterday to remember that I needed to renew my lapsed membership. Whoops.

I ended up deciding to join LITA, and since my professional focus currently resides with the Serials Section of ALCTS, I ended up dropping ACRL. Even so, my membership cost more than $200. For one year. Yeouch. The sad thing is that I’m not sure I’ll have much energy left to get my $200 worth out of it. We’ll see.

This leads me to a question I have been pondering for a bit. I’ve been thinking about my career and where I’d like to eventually end up, and I’m thinking more and more that I want to be in a smaller university or college library where the emphasis is on being librarians and less on being tenure-track faculty. The pros are that I would be able to stop worrying so much about publications and be able to focus on my strengths like being a (freakin’ awesome*) serials & electronic resources librarian and serving in various professional organizations as well as campus committees. The cons are that I probably won’t have as much support for attending conferences and likely the salary scale would be lower.

So, the question I’m pondering is whether ALA is worth being a member of if one cannot participate on committees because one cannot afford to attend all of the conferences?

* Sorry. I don’t know where that came from. Must be the result of reading two years of Questionable Content strips over the past few days.

ala annual, part one — washington, d.c.

Bloggin’ the ALA.

Aaron Dobbs and his chapeauALA Annual is as large and overwhelming as I expected, and still frustratingly too broad or too narrow at times. Either there are five different sessions I want to attend at the same time or there are none. Meh. On the up side, I have started to figure out where I should be within the organization, which turns out to be straddling the line between ALCTS and LITA.

At the ALCTS Serials Section Acquisitions meeting yesterday, I made a suggestion for a program for next year’s conference in Anaheim. The end result was that everyone on the committee liked it and the chair asked me to be the chair of the program. I’m new enough that I don’t know what I’m in for, but I think everyone will help if I get in over my head.

After the meeting I wandered over to the exhibit hall and got a copy of Social Software in Libraries: Building Collaboration, Communication, and Community Online by Meredith Farkas and have her sign it. Very nice to meet her in person.

Later in the afternoon, I skipped out on a session to attend the last few minutes of the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase, which was pretty cool. I’m sorry to have missed the first part. Met a few more blogger types that I’ve only known virtually, and that was nifty. It’s also why I attended the BIGWIG meeting this morning, and how I came to the revelation that I will find my people in LITA.

The coolness continued with the LISnews dinner/social at Capitol City Brewing. Blake Carver and Rochelle Hartman continue to rock my world.

Today was more tech goodness, which included the very interesting and very well attended top tech trends panel presentation. And now, I will close this out and pack up to head over to the Grand Hyatt for the Blog Salon.

ala midwinter seattle — the end

I was up bright and early Saturday morning. Despite having drifted off to sleep around 11pm, my body decided that it was time to wake up around 5am. We ended up compromising and I got up at 6am. This allowed me time to drop by the convention center and use the wifi for a bit before my 8am ALCTS Serials Section Acquisitions Committee meeting. The meeting was moderately productive and also happened to be my first ALA committee meeting (I’m an intern).

After that, I headed back to the convention center to meet with my Dean and a potential candidate for a position we have open at my library. It was a good meeting and I learned a lot about how these sorts of things work. Very useful information if/when I decide to go into library administration. We also met with another potential candidate in the afternoon, and that, too was a good and informative meeting.

I ended up skipping the CSA lunch, the Google Tips for Librarians session, and the III e-resources sessions that I had planned to attend over the next few hours. Instead, I lunched with my Dean and met up with some friends for further lunching (desert for me, lunch for them). In between that and the afternoon meeting, I wandered around the overwhelmingly large exhibit hall and talked to some vendors.

In the evening, I attended the NMRT social at the Elephant and Castle Pub, met a few folks I didn’t know, and ended up having and unexpectedly good time. My usual posse were off at other events, so it was a bit of a struggle to feel comfortable on my own and to meet new people. And I’m subscribing to the Young Librarian‘s blog.

On Sunday morning, I attended the Electronic Resources Breakfast hosted by Ebsco. It was an interesting discussion, much like what I encounter regularly at NASIG. It surprised me to learn that this sort of thing is uncommon for ALA events. That’s a pity.

I had intended to go to the ACRL presidential candidates forum lunch, but I ended up in the exhibit hall instead. After snagging a few more advance reader copies of interesting books, and picking up a bit more swag, I headed back to my hotel to unload everything. I also stopped at Rite Aid for some aspirin (the previous night’s events had left their mark in the form of a killer headache) and shoe inserts for my tired feet. This turned out to be a very good move, since according to my pedometer, I walked a little over six miles by the end of the day.

Refreshed, and carrying a much lighter load, I returned to the convention center for what I thought was a meeting there. Turns out WEST meant the Westin, but I didn’t find that out until after the Academic Librarians advocacy group was supposed to be meeting. I trekked down to the Westing in a rush, only to discover that either the meeting was canceled or moved or no one else had shown up. Disappointed, I returned to the convention center and chatted with a vendor until it was time for my backup meeting — ALCTS Serials Section Journal Costs in Libraries Discussion Group.

I stayed for about twenty minutes until it became apparent that the meeting was more about Selden Durgom Lamoureux and Judy Luther’s project to develop a standard “best practices” license agreement that publishers and libraries could choose to invoke rather than spending time and money on the license negotiation process. It’s a good idea, and at some point this week it should be up on the NISO website. I would have stayed longer, but I received a phone call and the session wasn’t what I was expecting it to be.

After a bit, I met up with Karen Schneider and a friend, and the three of us went to the Seattle Public Library for the GLBTRT social. The room was packed and I felt very out of place, for some reason. I ended up exploring the library, mostly on my own, instead of staying in the room for very long. When I get home, I’ll upload the pictures I took.

I snagged a cab instead of walking the mile or so to the Space Needle, and my feet thanked me. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the dessert tables at the III dessert reception, but I was so overwhelmed by the array of decadent chocolate (and other) desserts that it completely slipped my mind. This would also be the reason why I didn’t take pictures from the tower, either. By the end of the night, the sugar and wine combined to make me feel so exhausted I was almost ill. Yet another thing that was fun while it lasted, but the after-effects left much to be desired. Next time I won’t have the glass of wine.

My Monday morning meeting was canceled, which allowed me to sleep in (yay!) and sit here writing all this up. All I have left is a CMDS forum on collecting e-resources use, and then I go catch the shuttle home.

I feel like it’s been worthwhile for me to be here, but I’m also frustrated that so many of the things I would have attended conflicted with things I had to attend, and that there were a lot of gaps of nothing in between that could have been filled with meetings and sessions. I realize that ALA is a large organization and that scheduling is difficult under the circumstances, but it sure would be nice if some of the sessions and discussions were scheduled later in the day rather than at the same time as scheduled committee meetings. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that everything I’m interested in will be covered at NASIG, so I guess should just approach midwinter as a business meeting rather than professional development.