Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Librarian

It seems I actually have something in common with the Annoyed Librarian (I know, I'm shocked too). We both picked up on the trend about blogging about daily lives and we both wrote a blog about it. Check out mine here and hers here. While her day (and everyone else's) is infinitely more interesting than mine, it's still nice to know that people find sharing the mundane so fascinating.

I haven't blogged in a few days because my job has been very mundane over the past few weeks. I'm still working on that barcoding project, but expect to finish today or tomorrow. I imagine I will have another project dealing with the Media Archives as soon as a finish this one. It's been pretty quiet around here; in fact the library world has been really quiet. I guess now that ALA is over, things have calmed down or a lot of people are on vacation. (I'm going to go with the latter.) So I have very little to share.

Know anything new in the library world? Have something to share? Post a comment below or email me!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Photographs and Wikipedia

While reading my blogs today, I read a post in Points of Reference, the reference sources blog on Booklist Online. The article, which came from the New York Times website, discusses Wikipedia and its lack of decent photographs. While I found the article very interesting, it was really the blog post that struck me. The post brings up the point of whether or not we notice bad photographs on Wikipedia. Upon reading this, I thought about for a minute and then realized that I very rarely noticed the quality of the picture in whatever Wikipedia entry I happen to be reading, but I would be sure to notice if a picture or image in a print encyclopedia was poor. What does this say about our culture? Do we expect to see nice, photoshopped pictures in books and in non-tabloid magazines, but could care less about what we see online? Almost every website or blog I look at everyday has numerous pictures of both good and bad quality. But unless I'm actually looking for a specific image, I never really notice if the picture is accurate, shot well, or just plain bad. In fact, the only time I really pay attention to pictures online is when I do a Google Image search to look for a picture of something; then I look at the photo's quality.

This makes me wonder if the eye has begun ignoring pictures like it ignores web ads. I rarely look at ads anymore, unless they are blinking, flashing, or otherwise doing something annoying. I know that every time I google something, ads appear on the right-hand side, but I couldn't tell you what they were to save my life. It's the same with pictures. Unless I make a point to look at the picture I would never be able to say if its good or bad, accurate or inaccurate.

Do you notice yourself ignoring pictures or images online? Do you think the brain is becoming programmed to skip over them like we skip over ads? What about print sources? Why do we care if the pictures are good there, but we don't care about the quality online? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, July 24, 2009

How Well Read Are You?

In 2003 the BBC went in search of Britain's best loved novel. They later released a statement saying that the average person has only read about 6 of the 100 books on the list. I was tagged in a note on facebook about this and instead of responding there I decided to respond here. I have listed the books and put an "x" by the ones I have read. So how well-read am I?

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible X (do parts count?)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X
8 1984 - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X
Total: 6
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
Total: 3
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell X
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck X
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
Total: 3
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis X
34 Emma-Jane Austen X
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
Total: 4
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood X
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
Total: 5
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Total: 1
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold X
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Total: 2
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante X
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zol
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
Total: 2
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mxistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom X
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
Total: 4
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad X
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl X
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo X
Total: 5

Grand Total: 35/100

I guess that's not too terrible. At least I'm better than the average person! This list seems a little odd to me though; why count the Complete Works of Shakespeare as one entry, but then later list Hamlet? Why are the Harry Potter books counted as one book, but Jane Austen's works aren't? Same with the Chronicles of Narnia. Although a good number of these books are considered classics, and I read a good number of them in school, I'm not sure that one should base how well read he or she is based on this list. This would be, however, a great place to start if you are looking to read more or branch out into a different genre.

How did you do?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Typical Morning

Wow! Two posts in one day! :) I'm really starting to like this blogging thing. Anyway, I felt the need to share this awesome newspaper column that came through my American Libraries Direct newsletter. I love humorous little takes on the everyday life of a librarian, and found this one particularly amusing since it so resembles mine. So as a treat I decided to chronicle my morning in the Reading Room for you.

8:00 Arrive on time (yay!) and use code to get in. Turn first two sets of lights on and lobby printer/copier on. Put stuff down and turn on computer. Grab keys and open computer lab. Note that there are still copies of the CW on the floor; recycle them and turn on printer/copier. Head to the back to turn on last set of lights. Sign into the computer and check in the newspapers.
8:15-9:30 Really quiet. Check email, facebook, twitter, and blogs. Search for new blogs to read. Write a new blog post. G-chat with friends.
9:30 Request to borrow a pen. Followed quickly by requests to borrow a ruler, replace the staples, and fix a jam in the copier. Suddenly the computer lab is full.
9:52 Answer the phone then hang up on a solicitor.
10:00 Head to the back to put some barcodes on tapes. Listen to my ipod while mentally complaining to myself about how much I hate doing this.
10:45 Eat my snack and go pick up the mail. Rejoice because there aren't that many newspapers. Then sulk upon remembering they all come in on Thursdays. Check in the newspapers and put them on the shelves. Make mental note to recycle the old ones on Friday.
11:15 Briefly consider going back to barcoding, but the lure of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is too strong. Answer a question about the copier and then return to reading.
11:45 Eat lunch at desk while reading. Check email, facebook, twitter, and blogs. G-chat some more.
11:50 Put more paper in the computer lab printer/copier being careful not to overfill this time; that's why it kept jamming up.
12:30 Leave work to go home.

Not all that exciting. Sometimes I actually get good questions, but mostly I fulfill the role as copier refiller and pen hander-outer. Sometimes I wonder why they pay me to do this; then I stop thinking that and accept my lovely paycheck. :)

How was your day?

Getting Back on Track

This post really doesn't have all that much to do with librarianship, but as this is a personal blog, I thought that this would be a good time to blog about other things.

My summer has been incredibly busy. I haven't had a weekend at home, alone in my apartment, since school ended at the beginning of May. It's not like I've been traveling the entire summer or been on the go every day, but something has come up that has required me to go home even on the weekends when I haven't really had anything specific to do. I've been to two weddings, one of which I was a bridesmaid in, and to five wedding-related parties, traveled to Arkansas, the beach, Chicago, and Athens, GA. And in between all of that somehow managed to find the time to spend Father's Day with my dad and grandfather, celebrate the Fourth of July with my parents, book a flight to England, work four days a week, and see a bunch of movies. Whew!

This has really been a crazy summer; probably the busiest I've ever had. Usually my summers are comprised of going to work and hanging out with friends, with the occasional trip somewhere, but not much else. This summer has just blown my mind with all the stuff going on. It's no wonder that I'm beginning to feel slightly run down. But I'm very excited because this weekend I actually don't have anything to do! I'm going to work on Friday which I don't usually do, but I need the money to pay that tuition bill that just came, and Saturday I'm going to the local farmers market to pick up some fresh fruits and veggies. Sunday I'm driving home to see the Harry Potter movie (for the third time!) with my dad, but none of this is cause for stress.

I've devoted the next two weeks to getting back on track. With ALA and a spontaneous trip to see my best friend, the last three weeks have been really hectic and I feel like life is spinning out of control. I'm focusing on eating better this week (no fast food or eating out!), getting back in the gym, spending time with a few local friends, and just generally relaxing. My new roommate will be moving in soon and I want to get some cleaning and organizing done, but without putting pressure on myself. I hope that these two weeks give me some much-needed downtime and help me to get refocused on life before school starts up again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Do We Still Need a Separate, Physical Reference Space?

My favorite classes so far in library school have been my two reference classes. Part of that is that I adore the professor and the other part is that I really enjoy reference. I like answering questions and steering people in the right direction. I especially enjoy academic reference because the questions are more complex (usually) and often involve helping student with their research and paper writing. Because I find teaching very appealing, instruction, both in a set, classroom-type environment and spontaneous while-answering-a-question, is an important reference duty for me as well. However, in the age of Google and fabulous online databases, it's becoming more important to talk about the other aspect of reference, the books and their physical space in the library.

A separate reference space originated in the late nineteenth, early twentieth centuries, about the same time librarianship became more involved than simply keeping up with the books. More classic reference texts (subject encyclopedias, books of biography, etc) were being published and students began to refer to these to answer questions or start their research. However, do students still use these books? Do we need to have a separate space to house non-circulating reference texts?

I attended a session called "Rethinking the Reference Collection" at the ALA Conference where a panel of reference librarians offered up opinions on the state of the collection and the department. One of the more important things discussed was what do to with the reference books that no one uses. Most libraries, including ours here at UA, are slowly merging the little used books in with the circulating books. This doesn't seem to be a problem; they are in the catalog and students can still find them if needed. What really seems to be the issue are the books that are still in the reference room. Who is using them? A quick glance through the main library on campus and noticing what goes on in my own library, the answer is no one. In fact the only times I ever use the physical books in the reference department are for reference classes. I never used them as an undergrad; I knew they were there, but I preferred to use online sources or just Google the answer. Now that I'm more familiar with the books available, I have been using them more for my own research, but I still don't use them very often.

So what do we do with our reference books? Do we leave them where they are in hopes of someone using them? Do we merge them all into the regular collection? Should we simply weed them out to make more room for computers and study space? How are you rethinking the reference collection?

For a great article on this topic check out "Where are the Reference Books" by Lisa Blankenship and Jennifer Leffler in Colorado Libraries, volume 32, no. 2 (Spring 2006). While the article is three years old, its interesting to note just how long this discussion has been going on and how much has already changed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Preventing the Death of the Library

While at a session on Library 2.0 at ALA Conference last week, one of the speakers brought up an interesting point about how the library is dying. At first, I really disagreed with him. Library stats are on the rise, especially with the recession, right? People are discovering it's more economically to check out a book than to buy one. The honest answer is yes, but not enough people are learning this fast enough to really make a difference. One only has to look Amazon's revenue to know that isn't the case. Books are still being bought, albeit at much lower prices. People aren't thinking they can hop over to the local public library to find an old movie to watch tonight; they prefer to wait for Netflix to drop in their mailbox rather than leave the house. No one thinks about the resources of your local public college or university, instead they jump on Google and find the Wikipedia page for whatever research they need to complete. Who is thinking that the library is a great place to go to find the latest Wii game?

So what can we, as librarians, do to prevent the death of the library in the face of all this digital awareness and sheer laziness that has taken over our society? Is the death of the library preventable or are we just waiting the inevitable?

I don't know if the library, at least the public library in it's current form, can survive. But right now I believe our best option is advertising what we have. Let the people in community know what's out there and how they can take advantage of it. Have a great collection of genealogy records that no one uses? Speak to a local group about sponsoring a "find an ancestor" day or something to that effect in your town. Publicize the event to the extreme via your website, your blog, your Twitter, whatever you use. Don't have an updated website, a person to blog, or a Twitter account? No fear, this is the perfect opportunity to establish one. But even the best websites, most insightful/informative blogs and Tweets go unnoticed if you don't advertise them. Make sure everything that carries your library's name on it has your website. Make sure your website is clearly labeled and consistently updated with news and events. Create a facebook page; anything to get your name out there and people in your library.

Tons of people don't use the public library because they don't know what's available to them. I bet there are a lot of people in your community who don't know they can check out video games or schedule a personal research consultation. They probably forgot that you have a ton of books/articles/magazines on job hunting, resume writing, and interviewing techniques. More than likely, there are a good number of elderly in the community who want to get online, but don't know how. They aren't aware that you teach (or could if you had enough people sign up) free classes about using the computer and the Internet.

These are all ways to reach an underserved population. The public library will die if we continue to only serve the serious readers and moms with small children. Reach out to others in your community; plan events and blog about them. Post pictures on your website. Have contests and drawings for patron of the week that offer good prizes. Do anything and everything to keep people from going the easy way and turning to the Internet as their only source of information. If we try hard enough, maybe we can keep the library around for a while longer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wardrobe Choices for Librarians (a.k.a. What Not To Wear)

I really hate to be picky and this feels like a really picky topic to blog about, but I think librarians have a bad rep when it comes to fashion sense. I used to think that was largely undeserved looking at my classmates and the majority of the staff and faculty in UA's library system; however, I have changed my mind. Librarians have terrible fashion sense. Rephrase: librarians have NO fashion sense. Being at ALA last week made me feel like I was living in a huge episode of What Not to Wear. Everywhere I turned there were outfits that would make Stacy and Clinton cringe. They made me want to crawl in a hole and die of embarrassment for my profession.

There were many, many, many outfits that could serve as examples of what not to do, but I felt that it might be a little rude to start snapping pictures of poorly dressed people just so I could share them on my blog. While no particular case stands out in my mind (although I do have a disastrous image burned forever in my mind of how hair should never, ever look), I will take out the time to point out some major fashion faux pas that I spotted.

1. Cardigans. I love cardigans of all sorts; they're great for tossing over a shirt when you're cold or wearing as part of an ensemble as has been fashionable this spring/summer. But cardigans, like all pieces of clothing, should fit. Cardigans should not be overly baggy; contrary to popular belief this does not keep you warmer. Cardigans should not have holes in them, possess unidentifiable stains, or be so old that they were purchased in another decade.

2. Pants. Pants are an excellent article of clothing. They are versatile and come in a variety of options. Nevertheless, pants, like all other clothing, should fit. Baggy pants make you look sloppy, thus bringing into question your ability to adequately pick out clothing. If you can't pick out clothing well, am I going to trust you with picking out a book or helping me with my research? Only if I'm desperate. And even then, I'm going to spend half the time wondering when the last time you shopped was. If you look sloppy and unprofessional, then you are sloppy and unprofessional. Pants, like cardigans, and any and all other items that you put on your body should not be stained, have holes, or look generally over-worn. And for goodness sake; don't pull your pants up beyond your belly button!! It makes you look frumpy and no one wants a frumpy librarian. :)

3. Inappropriate clothing choices. I'm going to be honest; this bothers me way more than old, holey sweaters and baggy pants pulled up to the chin. Librarianship is a professional job; we are information professionals. We should dress like professional people. Would you trust a doctor/lawyer/accountant if her skirt was obnoxiously too short or she had way too many piercings? Probably not. So why trust a librarian who looks like she's reading to hit the bars after a long day of cataloging? I saw so many librarians with super short skirts, multiple, visible body piercings and tattoos, and clothing/jewelry more suited to a younger generation. Dressing professionally doesn't have to be boring; but it is necessary.

Dressing professionally isn't a hard thing. I tend to dress very simply; plain shirts that can be mixed with a variety of pants/capris/skirts, but I always look put together.* I fix my hair nice, I do my make-up, I wear an appropriate level of jewelry. Don't get me wrong; I may dress boring, but I saw a ton of funky, awesomely dressed people at conference who looked like they knew exactly what they were doing with their lives. They had great personal style and were expressing it, but in an appropriate way for work. I would never wonder when the last time they shopped.

Maybe you think that shopping is for the frivolous and no one really cares how the librarian is dressed. Believe me, they do care. You send a message to the public by the way you dress. If you dress poorly because you simply don't care how you look, people start to wonder what else you don't care about. Simply put, people, on average, are more forthcoming to someone who is put together and looks like he/she actually wants to help you. And having forthcoming patrons is incredibly important; you know this if you have every spent time working the reference desk.

So keep the cardigans coming; they look fabulous now! But just keep in mind that the way you dress reflects your profession. If you want people to think we are just a bunch of frumpy old ladies shushing people all day then by all means dress that way; but if you want to see librarians project a solid professional image and reach out as a resource to the community, then please watch how you dress!!

*If you see my on the street in gross jeans and a t-shirt; please don't me mad at me!! I try to look professional at work, but can't keep it up all the time. (But if I ever look awful for work, feel free to redirect me to my own blog.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Features and Update on Summer Reading

I've added some new features!! I created tags (or labels) for each of my posts to make it simpler to locate posts on similar topics. While I don't have that many posts now, hopefully this will be helpful in the near future. I've also added the Shelfari widget. If you are unfamiliar with Shelfari, it's a social networking site that allows members to share books they've read, are reading, and would like to read. I'm not using the site to connect with other readers, instead I'm using its excellent blogger widget to share what I'm reading with you. Scroll down to find my bookshelf on the left side of your screen. The shelf only displays one book at a time, but I'll usually have two or three books listed depending on what I'm currently reading. Take some time to check out these two new features!

I'm sure you were all on the edge of your seat wondering how my summer reading is going so here's an update. So far I've read four books from my list (Bull's Island, The Sweet Far Thing, A Separate Peace, and The Alchemist) and started Mere Christianity, but haven't been able to really get into it yet. Of the books I've finished, I'm excited to say that I strongly recommend them all. Especially The Alchemist; if you haven't read it yet, get yourself to the library and check it out immediately. It has really encouraged me to follow my dreams and continue down the path of pursuing my Ph.D.

Next up on my list are The Space Between Us and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I decided that the best way to get all of these books is to use my public library in order to encourage me to read them before they are due back. I find this to be a good process. I've even requested ones that are not in the library currently so I won't have to wait long between each book.

I'm still reading romance naturally, but spacing it out between my summer reads. In the past week I've read Julia Quinn's What Happens in London and Eloisa James's A Duke of Her Own, both of which are excellent. If you like historical romance even a little, check out these authors. I received four free (and autographed!) romance novels at ALA this past weekend so I'm looking forward to having some others to read as well.

So far my summer reading is progressing nicely. Look for more updates as I keep reading through my list. Please leave your comments on how your summer reading is going and/or what you are reading; I would love to hear from you!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Shuttle Buses, Librarians, and the Sheer Number of ALA Acronyms

So I had big plans for this year's ALA Annual Conference (my first). I was going to blog everyday about my experiences while they were still fresh in my mind. Well, no one prepared me for the chaos that is annual conference. This has been one of the most overwhelming four days of my life. However, it has also been one of the most educational, and not just in terms of librarianship. While three days of conference have slipped by without me writing a blog, I do have a great list of topics to blog on, enough to keep me busy for several weeks, at least. Today I just wanted to offer my comments on three things.

1. Shuttle buses between hotels and the conference center are a great idea. However, shuttle buses that don't run often enough, nor have enough space to fit the needs of all attendees are not a great idea. I learned quickly after waiting 30 minutes and being passed over by two full buses that it's best to always stay at headquarters. Or at least walk over and catch the shuttle from there. If I ever have the money to stay at such a nice hotel, I totally will, but for now, budget accommodations and sneaking on to the shuttle at a different spot is just fine, especially when that results in getting to the conference site ahead of schedule, or at least on time.

2. There are a lot of librarians in the U.S. Someone said there were over 27,000 librarians in Chicago this weekend. Apparently ALA brings librarians out in full force. Everywhere I went this weekend, there were librarians. Hopefully, this is a positive thing and will help to promote the library to all different sorts of people. This has been a great opportunity to meet librarians and library students from around the country. It has also been an opportunity to see how many librarians still fit the stereotype; some good, some, well, not so good, but more on that in a coming post.

3. ALA loves acronyms. I knew this before; however, the list seems to keep growing. Every group has an acronym, every round table, interest group, section, etc within those groups has acronyms; the list is unbelievable. It's also unbelievable how many people seem to actually know what they all mean. Me, I spent most of the time checking their meanings so as not to appear ignorant. If I could offer up one piece advice to ALA, it would be to cut down on the acronyms. I love to shorten things too, but its getting ridiculous when the list of acronyms is two pages long.

In the next few weeks I hope to be blogging a lot more consistently in order to share more of my experiences at ALA annual. Please share yours; I would love to hear your stories!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

ALA Annual Conference

Friday morning I will be leaving for Chicago and the ALA Annual Conference. I wasn't really excited about going until today and I started looking at all the cool sessions I want to go to and the opportunity to network with other young librarians and library students. Even though I think librarianship may not be the career for me, I'm still looking forward to attending the conference, looking at the exhibits, and meeting with potential employers. I'm even attending a session on finding an academic library job! Conference offers so many wonderful things and I can't wait to have the opportunity to explore them all. I plan on blogging everyday about what I did and going to do, so look out for new exciting posts!

I'm also excited because my closest friend from high school lives in Chicago, and while we are both going to be busy, we are making plans to get together a few times. I went to see her in October and had a great time, but didn't get to experience everything Chicago has to offer. Hopefully, this time, I will get to see some more stuff, visit my friend, and maybe do a little shopping!

Is anyone out there going to be at conference? Let me know!