Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Capitol Boredom Ahead

Along with tons of other librarians, I'll be heading to DC for the ALA Annual Conference this week. I leave tomorrow, and am already dreading it. Usually I at least look forward to seeing old friends, but this time even that isn't energizing me. I'm doing some work these days with a committee of complete morons, and it saps my energy for most other things.

I'd probably feel more enthusiastic if I were an "emerging leader." Some of those folks seem very excited indeed, at least according to the latest issue of the other AL. Here's how the article on them begins:

"Fire Trucks arrived at Seattle Public Library January 19 just days before the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting. Had the Emerging Leaders set it on fire with their enthusiasm?"

Definitely doesn't sound like my kind of group, or at least not my kind of writer. According to the article, those emerging leaders are an excitable group. I notice the article keeps calling them "young librarians," though based on the picture they weren't all that young. But I guess all that enthusiasm made them young at heart.

But since I can't manufacture that much enthusiasm, it's off to DC to be bored. I hope to have my standard ALA report when I return, so that next time you're in DC you'll know where to find a decent martini.

22 comments:

Dances With Books said...

That is what they actually wrote in that other article? No, I am not questioning your quoting, AL, but I am just amazed that other place would resort to such, well, crap, to describe their enthusiasm. Definitely not my kind of group either. I can only hope you find a good decent martinis to soothe the soul. Here, I am not going, but a couple of higher ups are. What that means for me is they will be out of my hair for about a week, and that, can be a beautiful thing.

janitorx said...

I notice the article keeps calling them "young librarians," though based on the picture they weren't all that young.

Aren't they all supposed to be under 35? I could say something snarky here, but I'll refrain.

I hope you aren't exaggerating how easy it is to get involved with ALA because I have to get more involved with national orgs. for my new job.

AL said...

I think initially they were all supposed to be under 35, but I thought some of the older new librarians complained and it was changed to under 5 years experience. I can't remember. I haven't read anything about it since writing the initial critical article.

And yes, it's easy to get involved in a lot of things in ALA. There are some divisions and committees that are more popular than others, and thus harder to get appointed to committees, but I've never had a problem getting appointed to anything.

contrarian said...

I do hope you attend and report to us about the "debate" on what is a library issue and what isn't a library issue. You may need a martini PRIOR to that meeting.

AL said...

Fortunately I have another commitment and won't be able to make that meeting.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand. Why go and be involved with ALA at all? Does your job require it? The only way you could get me to an ALA conf is by threats of violence, and if I did go I wouldn't attend any thing and spend all day and night in whatever bar was close at hand.

Actually maybe it wouldn't be that bad!! Since anything librarians discuss and have conferences about is Nothing, it would be easy to be soused the whole time, then make up some nonsense reports to my superiors when I return.

OK. That's it!! A way to be constantly in the bag three or four days and get paid for it. Sign me up!!!!

AL said...

It's a little thing called professional service, and it's often expected or required at academic libraries. ALA is the easiest way to do that for me. What I actually do at ALA is sometimes useful, and the free dinners and drinks with old friends are a nice perk. But the only people who bother with membership or council meetings are people who don't have other commitments, often other commitments that actually have something to do with some aspect of libraries.

I guess some people go to the programs, but they're usually not worth it if you already know what's going on. I think the Librarian in Black wrote recently that the techie programs tend to be put on by techies for non-techies, so techies needn't bother. I'd say the same thing is true of almost all the programs. Experts talking to complete neophytes. When I give presentations, I'm always stunned by what librarians don't know.

Anonymous said...

Last year I attempted to drive to ALA’s conference. As if on autopilot, my car decided to make an array of uncontrolled LEFT turns at every intersection. Once I tossed my copy of Library Journal out the car window, and started heading in the opposite direction, everything was fine.

Sadly, I’m afraid I’d feel a bit …uh… “lonely” at ALA’s big event.

tanner said...

Well, since I'm not currently on any committtees, I'm happy to know that I'm not one of the morons on your commmittee. But believe me, I have been there, so you have my sympathies. I am, however, about to join an ALA committee (I'm also an ALA councilor).
Hope I run into you at a reception, even though I won't know it's you! I suppose I will be subconsciously on the lookout for an attractive, intelligent, well-spoken female librarian of indeterminate age with a martini in her hand!

AL said...

To be fair to committee members, I should note that I've served on lots of committees at various levels, and this is the only one I've ever been on where I've thought all the other members morons. Maybe I was a moron for joining the committee. I usually like most of my fellow committee members, but I sure fell in among idiots this time. If only I could share the depth of the idiocy, because I think it would make a very funny blog post.

And just to warn you, sometimes I drink wine at receptions, just so no one will think I'm the AL. So now you have to look out for the winos as well.

Anonymous said...

And, try to make the ALAP party! Goof food, and reasonable booze

contrarian said...

Tanner said:

"Hope I run into you at a reception, even though I won't know it's you! I suppose I will be subconsciously on the lookout for an attractive, intelligent, well-spoken female librarian of indeterminate age with a martini in her hand!"

And it sounds like the AL has a relatively big bottom, so don't count on that distinguishing her from the crowd.

Blair said...

You'll be in our neighborhood. Helpful hints:

Closest martini is the Dominion Brewhouse, on the 9th Street face of the Convention Center between M and N; can't vouch for the quality as I go there for the beer. Other good bets are Acadiana (9th and K) and Clyde's (7th between F and G).

AL said...

Thanks for the suggestions!

AL said...

ALAP looks absolutely perfect! But where is there meeting?

Anonymous said...

AL, why the f*ck are you going?

Beth said...

I just wonder how the heck there can be any Emerging Leaders in this godforsaken field when we settle for salaries that can't feed a family or pay the bills. How can most librarians afford to go to D.C. in the summer, anyway? Are you people ALL staying in Hotel Best Friend and eating PB and crackers? Oh, well. I'm just an annoyed library student.

janitorx said...

Beth,

Well, from my limited experience attending conferences there seems to be more or less two camps (lines of distinction are often blurred):
1) Those who gleefully foot the entire bill themselves because they ascribe to the idea that their library career is their sole identity--or maybe they view it as an investment.
2) Those who work at libraries with very supportive administrations who fund these expeditions, but also expect active participation.

It took me almost 9 years to land into camp #2. YMMV. Prior to this, I eschewed most national conferences.

Anonymous said...

For good DC martinis:
Panache has great martinis (by the Mayflower Hotel). Try there. Skip Ozio's - really weak drinks there during happy hour. Poste makes a mean drink (it's in the Hotel Monaco across the street from the Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum). The Mayflower Hotel has a great bar - kind of a cigar and lobbyist place but they make really good drinks cause they're usually liquoring up the K Street crowd.
That should be a good start for you :-)

Too busy for Morons said...

Since are all morons as you say...why honor them with your time? I can't be bothered. I read you for affirmation that I have made the right choice.

Anonymous said...

TONS of librarians is right. They have the fattest behinds and shortest hair. You can't tell one from another. Annoyed Librarian they need you to set them straight.I got back Monday. It was horrible. They had Bobby Kennedy as a speaker. A bunch of tree hugging fatties. Where's the books?

Anonymous said...

"Experts talking to complete neophytes. When I give presentations, I'm always stunned by what librarians don't know."~AL

Have a top ten of what librarians don't know?