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Sunday, February 8, 2015

#alamw15 report (sort of)

I am retired.   When I go to a conference I no longer have to save receipts for reimbursement, nor do I have to write a report for the library board.  But I've gone to ALA conferences for more than 30 years and reporting back is ingrained. (And if I take notes and transcribe them, I remember better.)

My schedule for this Midwinter was pretty much like pre-retirement:  going to meetings, not going to other meetings because of overlapping obligations, seeing long-time friends and meeting new people, and getting lots and lots of new books.  My roommate at the Hyatt Regency downtown was my good friend Pat who is director of another suburban library. We live just far enough apart that ALA is our time to catch up.

Non-librarians ask, "What do you do at conferences?" The Midwinter Meeting is primarily to conduct ALA business -- the Council and Executive Board (the governing bodies), the boards of all the divisions, and the hundreds of ALA and division committees.  Both Midwinter and Annual are also huge trade shows when publishers and vendors of library databases, equipment, and supplies show what's new.  Awards are announced at Midwinter.  Notable Adult Books and Youth Media  (Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, and Michael Printz).

My schedule, in brief:

Part of the RMRT crowd 
*  Thursday evening:  Executive Board Survivors dinner (those of us who served on the ALA Executive Board)
*  Friday:   Freedom to Read Foundation board (I am liaison to FTRF from the United for Libraries division

With AAUW & retired librarian friend Ginny
*  Friday evening:  Retired Members Round Table Dinner
Dick Durbin
*  Saturday morning: Council Orientation (I am on the CouOrient committee) followed by Washington Office Update (IL senior senator Dick Durbin spoke, followed by a good presentation by a U of Chicago poli sci professor about party polarization in Congress over the years)
*  Saturday afternoon: Executive Board and Membership Update (ALA business update), followed by the 2015 presidential candidates' forum (4 candidates this year)
*  Saturday evening:  two receptions (United for Libraries and New Councilors)

Sunday morning we woke up to snow.  It snowed all day, turning into the fifth-largest one-day snowfall in Chicago history.
Snowfall from our hotel room window
* Sunday breakfast at our hotel):  Alexander Street (publisher) hosted Loung Ung, an American from Cambodia who is a human rights activist.  Here is her website
The shuttle buses navigated slippery Lake Shore Drive to get conference-goers to McCormick Place.
* I facilitated a Kitchen Table Conversation, a group activity to solicit members' ideas to improve ALA.
* Sunday afternoon:  the University Press Books for Public and School Libraries committee met. (See my books for this year's bibliography in this post).
 ** My second committee meeting, scheduled from 3-5 p.m., was cancelled due to the blizzard. We will have to have a conference call to catch up.
* Sunday evening, back at the Hyatt:  my friend Carol and I had dinner in the hotel restaurant. It was crowded, rather like being in a college dining hall: we all sort of knew one another.  I did not intend to watch the Super Bowl but it was playing on about two dozen TV screens all around us, so I could not miss it. (Go Patriots!!!!)
The storm had blown over Monday morning.  Pat and I slept in and did not make it to the MLK Sunrise Observance at 6:30.  We took a later shuttle to McCormick. She had a Council meeting and I did another turn through the exhibits.  The vendors don't want to take stuff home so there are bargains to be had! I filled two tote bags to overflowing. In all I spent $136 to ship mostly free books. (And I still have to pick up a totebag that a ZBPL colleague took back with her.)

Ready for signing 
Elizabeth Berg 
Singer sign in the ladies' room at Russian Tea Time
* Monday afternoon:  United for Libraries author tea -- six authors talked about their latest books. Copies were available for signing. (The authors: Thomas Perry, Marja Mills, Elizabeth Berg, Meg Cabot, Lashonda Barnett.)
* Monday evening: a group of us always have dinner on the Monday evening of the conference. This time there were six of us. We went to Russian Tea Time on East Adams.

Tuesday morning I took the train home.  My ALA boxes arrived the same day! I have lots of reading to do.

Color-coordinated swag

Got books? I do!


1 comment:

  1. WOW! It sounds like a fun but busy time. I know now that you're retired it probably is more fun and less work for you. Enjoy your reading. What do you do with the free books after reading them? I've pretty well given up purchasing novels. Plus, I'm not spending much on quilt books now either. I enjoy the quilt books I own whether I make any thing from the books or not. I've got enough ideas/books/computer files with quilts that I would never be able to make all of them!

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