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!

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