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Sunday, July 2, 2017


Chicago has hosted the American Library Association Annual Conference fifteen times. The first was the 17th conference in 1893 when 311 members attended.   This year the attendance was 22,702 librarians (and staff, trustees, etc.) and vendors, 25% more than the Orlando in 2016.  Chicago is easy to get to and it's in a library-rich region.   Although I live just 50 miles away I stay downtown so I can get to early-morning meetings and evening social events.

Our friend Valerie came to visit before the conference. She and Stevens met at the 1983 ACRL (Assn. of College & Research Libraries) conference in Seattle. We've been great friends ever since.  When ALAAC was in New York in 1996 we visited her and her husband at their home on Long Island -- high time to return the favor! I've seen Valerie over the years but Stevens had not.  (Wheelchairs made it much easier to get out to the parking lot at O'Hare.)

Valerie is a trustee of her local historical society. She enjoyed the tour of the Zion Historical Society.

Both Valerie and I took the commuter train downtown on Thursday. She got a cab to her hotel and I got a cab to the Hilton.  I plunged right into meetings with the Freedom to Read Foundation board at McCormick Place   FTRF hosted a reception after the board meeting and, back downtown at the Hyatt, ALA hosted a VIP reception for association leaders present and past.  The Executive Board Survivors' dinner followed.  JSH and I began the EB Survivors after our EB term ended in 2007.  The dinner is a great way to begin the conference.

On Friday morning I sat in on the United for Libraries Nuts & Bolts (for trustees, Friends, and Foundations).  My friend and former coworker Rosemary was there. She's now a trustee at our former place of work.  (Who's the nut and who's the bolt?)

The ALA Development Office hosted Legacy Society members (of which I'm one) at lunchtime.

Ready, set, exhibits!

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table met at 3 p.m. back at McCormick, which put me in the right place for the exhibits opening at 5:30.  The best giveaway:  a silk scarf from Grey House/Salem.

Members of the Retired Members Round Table met for dinner that evening. (I was the group coordinator -- everyone liked Havana, the restaurant I chose.)

"Think advocatively, act locally!" was the takeaway from  the ALA Washington Office update  (I was still in advocate-mode after the wonderful Lobby  Day at the AAUW National Convention.)

I went to several book-and-author events.
Harper Collins publishers is celebrating 200 years.

Just a few of the forthcoming books I shipped home. (These are ARCs -- advance reader copies. Publication dates range from July to December.)

I had my photo taken with Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress.  (She has one of my bookshelf quilts in her home office.)

Five minutes after that I posed with Baker and Taylor, the B&T  mascots

The Newbery-Caldecott banquet is always special.  Pat and I left after Caldecott, before Newbery to attend a farewell reception for AL Executive Director Keith Fiels who's served in that role for 15 years.

Meetings, books, meals, vendors . . . what could top the experience?  The closing session, that's what!

Pat and I checked out of the Hilton early Tuesday, left our suitcases with the bellman, and took a cab to McCormick. I was 97th in line at 6:50 a.m. (A man just in front of me counted.)

The doors opened at 8:00.  My seat was fourth row, center section!

The hall held 3200 people and it was at capacity.

Here is the YouTube video of the entire speech. She pushed all the library buttons.  (HRC's appearance was underwritten by publisher Simon & Schuster. A children's version of "It Takes a Village" is coming out this fall.)

I took an afternoon train home.  Books and other swag were waiting for me -- as was my husband, who was glad to have me back.

Next post:  ALA Biblioquilters!

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