Thursday, July 06, 2006

ALA Report: Unimportant Stuff

Now I've been back from New Orleans for over a week, I've almost forgotten what I did there, well, besides sweat and drink. I'm looking back through my miniature "Conference-at-a-Glance" booklet that we were all supposed to wear around our necks because they came in the jumbo-sized badge holder. I found it was a good size for a coaster, though, so that's worked out okay.

Programs! Wow! There were a lot of them!

The ones I most look forward to are those with exclamation points after them, as you can well imagine. I'm a librarian. I like to communicate with exclamation points!

There were about 14 programs with exclamation points, and they weren't all from those YALSA people, like one would expect. There were exciting programs like:

"Show me the Money: Marketing your Library to Stakeholders for Masimum Impact (and Cash!)"
I would have gone to this one, except I'm put off by the terminology. If I'd wanted to deal with marketing, stakeholders, and cash, I'd have gone into the family business instead of impetuously running away to join the library school circus.

"Good to Great: How to Rethink, Reconfigure, and Revitalize your Library into Greatness!"
Yay! If I'd gone to this one, no doubt my hands would be clapping and my toes tapping as I contemplated making my library great! But seriously, look around your library. What are the chances it will ever be great? Sure, if you worked where the Annoyed Librarian works, you might think so, but you don't, 'cause I've checked my sitemeter. I'm trying to imagine the library I least enjoyed working at ever being great. It ain't gonna happen.

And then there was "I Want to Speak to the Person in Charge!" I suppose you were to learn how to deal with the ordinary pains in the neck who stumble into your library, "problem patrons" and the like. I didn't go to that because I don't get problem patrons. They always go to someone less likely to give them a contemptuous look and tell them to zip up their fly.

I also had to miss "Our New Bookmobile Has Arrived! Now What Can We Do?" However, my suggestion to the people asking that question is, drive it around and see if anyone wants to check out books. I mean, really, how hard can it be to figure this one out?

There was a "diversity" program called "I Don't Know Any Gay People!" I didn't go because I know a gay person.

Another apparently related program should have had an exclamation point: "I Don't Know any Indians." I'm not sure what that was about. I don't know if they were talking about Indians, as in those polite people who speak such good English and are always having trouble with Pakistan, or Indians, as in the indigenous peoples of America that kept getting killed or relocated by pushy Americans. If the latter, it should probably have read "American Indian" or "Native American" or some other such politically correct term. I think the term "Injun" would clear up the difference without the need for so many words, though. I'll recommend that at my next mandatory diversity sensitivity workshop just to show I think about these things.

Some of the programs didn't have exclamation points, but had excitement written all over them. Consider the following:
"Understanding LC Classification." That looked exciting! I would have gone to that, only I read a book on LC Classification once. Seems like the kind of thing that if you're attending ALA and still don't understand LC, maybe you don't really need to.

"Distinguished S*E*R*V*I*C*E Means R*E*S*P*E*C*T." Just typing that out was exciting. I didn't go to this one because I thought I'd be nauseated by the sight of many large, sweaty librarians doing their Aretha Franklin imitations and expecting me to respect them.

Then there was "Science Fiction: the Literature of Ideas." It was going to be subtitled the "Literature of Geeky Teenage Boys" but then they found out Bunny likes SciFi. Go figure.

There was also the temptingly named "Four Star Research" about how to find a good restaurant. I have my people find good restaurants, so I don't need the help.

I was glad to see some programs and meetings on salaries and other things dear to the Annoyed Librarian's heart:

"Why Should I Hire you? Why Would I want to Work Here?"
I ask these questions a lot. As I scan the job ads wondering if I should ever deign to grace the halls of some other institution with the large shoes and sensible bottom of the Annoyed Librarian, I often think to myself, "Who do they find to work at all these awful jobs?" Then I think, perhaps no one, that's why they're open!

"Marketing Yourself: Building Your Resume and Interviewing Skills."
"Getting What You're Worth: Salary Workshop"
I didn't attend these, because I don't need the help. I should be leading these, actually. Anyway, I hope the poor and beaten down librarians (for whom I wear the black, by the way) went to these and got some tips.

So far, it looks like I didn't attend much. Well, I didn't. I'm usually too busy socializing to go to any programs.

1 comment:

Bunny Watson said...

Darn, I knew I should have gone to ALA. You know, I'm really a pimply teenage boy who can't get a date at heart (well, I can't get a date anyway, but that's another story).
Go ahead and make fun of sci-fi, but at least I don't spend all my time watching reality tv.

Last conference I went to, I attended one session. It was the first one I arrived in time for, my good friend was giving a paper. Afterwards, we took off for the bars and never looked back. Now that's the way to attend a conference!