This is an unusual ALA for me. Since I knew I was about to have a major life change, and was running for council, I timed a lot of my committee obligations to end before this conference. With that being the case, I haven’t been seeing as many familiar faces.
With Leif being so little and still dependent on me for certain things, John and Leif came on a vacation while I do conference business. In my spare time I catch up with them.
And with starting council, in many ways it feels like an entirely new conference: new conference culture to learn, new people, new ways of doing business. And it’s a much more diverse group in every way. I realize that to do council right I’m going to need to pay much more attention to the general field than I have been over the past few years.
So far, the highlights:
Leif did surprisingly well on the flight, though his parents were pretty exhausted by the end of it. :) We also had the fortune of taking the same flights as Lauren C., and it was nice to be able to catch up during the layover and afterwards.
Friday night was the LITA Happy Hour. It’s the one time when LITA folks get together and catch up without formal business. Some years it’s the only time that I see some colleagues from other institutions and it’s a great place to catch up on interest group information. This year John and Leif came by since several folks there had seen Leif’s photos. We just stopped by though, long enough to make contact.
The real business of the conference started first thing this morning. For me the day started with a two hour orientation to council. It was really, really good! I learned more at that two hours of ALA than any two hour block of any ALA leading up to it. They did a great job of discussing the process of policy adoption, integration into governing documents, parliamentary procedures (and how to find out more as you go), cultural issues, obligations to constituents (since I’m at large, that means my constituents are any ALA member, so let me know if there’s anything you want me to pass on/do anything about!), and connected us with many of the folks we’ll need to know. I saw a few familiar faces, which was reassuring, and the information they gave us helped me really feel like I could get involved more quickly rather than waiting for a while and just listening while I learned everything. President Roberta Stevens wrapped up her remarks saying that her time with council has been really rewarding. She was involved with legislation about the Patriot Act that had far reaching implications, and pointed out that though Council really exists for the profession, at times it can have societal impact. Really inspirational stuff!
My other big event of the day was a panel for the Tech Set. Marshall Breeding and I spoke with a group primarily comprised of the LITA Publications Committee about our experiences writing for the Tech Set, our thoughts about future publication opportunities, and how writing fits into our career. It was a fun conversation and it was nice to have the opportunity to follow up on my work with Wikis for Libraries. Marshall’s doing a book for the second Tech Set. I’m not that ambitious. :)