Home » Events » Musing Monday: a brief ALA midwinter recap

Musing Monday: a brief ALA midwinter recap

Musing Mondays is a weekly event where MizB will ask a book/reading-related question, and you answer with your own thoughts on the topic. Musing Mondays is hosted by Should be Reading.

I attended American Library Association (ALA), midwinter conference this past weekend in Philadelphia, at the Philadelphia Convention Center.  Despite having to work (and unusual frigid weather conditions), I always enjoy the ALA conferences. I usually just attend the annual conference near the end of June so this was unexpected surprise to be able to attend the midwinter.

It’s wonderful to see so many librarians, book readers/bloggers, and library workers all in one place to support the library system. Of course, the Exhibit Hall is a sight to see. There are so many publishers showcasing debut authors with mass publicity campaigns, distributing numerous advanced reader copies, known to folks in the industry as ARCs. Every year, I vow not to collect so many ARCs that I can’t read before the next ALA conference that I attend. And every year, I vow to donate my unread ARCs to a local charity or find other readers who may be interested in reading them. And the very next conference, I’m back with my bag full of books and posters, groaning loudly at myself at the Post Office (conveniently located in the convention center) packing my box full of ARCs. This year, I even used my 3 year old daughter as an excuse to collect children’s books. Really?! I was almost ashamed of myself, until I scored an autographed copy of  Nora’s Ark by Eileen Spinelli. Of course, that just makes up for all the books that I packed up and shipped home. But I did manage to hold myself to only one box. And believe me, that was not easy.

In addition to publishers, there are vendors, many vendors. Some vendors want to update your library’s bibliographic records to the latest cataloging rules, Resource Description and Access (RDA). These rules are suppose to be more user friendly and easier for catalogers to create bibliographic records. However, let me tell you by experience, it doesn’t seem to be easier. There are rules that seem to create more work for the catalogers (me). Of course, there is a certain amount of getting used to new cataloging rules when I’ve using the old cataloging rules for almost 10 years.  These vendors usually supply with the bags that I use to carry my bookload, or give me the pens I use to address the box that I ship the books. One vendor even take pictures.

Most publishers or vendors require that they scan your conference badge. Your badge contains all sorts of pertinent information to the businesses: your name, email address, work address, employer, etc., all to send you additional information on their new, and previous, products. But deleting extra emails and discarding junk mail seems to be a small price to pay for assortment of freebies these businesses offer over a long four-day weekend. What better way to reach thousands of potential customers?

Aside from the Exhibit Hall, I “forced” myself to do some networking. I handed almost all of my business cards, asked publishers to “shoot me an email,” talked to fellow librarians, attended some committee meetings. I pushed myself outside of my introverted box and talked to people I didn’t know, which is a feat by itself. I don’t know what it is but I can get up in front of a group of people and give a talk without batting an eye. But ask me to start a conversation with a total stranger and I get all tongue-tied, without a clue as what to say. Ugh!

The 2014 ALA annual conference is held from June 26-July 1 in Las Vegas, baby!! “Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves!”

I brought the following books home with me on the train. I have one box full of ARCs  and posters that should be arriving this week.

Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders

The Road to TestamentSex & Violence

The Soul of the Rose

Kerman Derman and the Relic of Perilous Falls

A Matter of Souls

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