The 2012 American Library Association Conference

One of the things that was keeping me busy over the past few weeks that has prevented me from blogging was attending the American Library Association Conference in Anaheim. The one thing I can say about Anaheim as a conference city is that the weather is gorgeous. Other than that I was not impressed. Unless you’re planning on going to Disneyland (which I was not), there is essentially nothing to do there. Also because it’s set up to cater to families who are there to go to Disney pretty much the only thing to eat at in walking distance of the convention center is chain restaurants. I rarely eat at chains, so I think I ate more food from chain restaurants over the 5 days that I was there than I have in the past 5 years.

It was great to go and catch up with some librarian friends that I generally only get to see when we’re attending the same conference as well as connect with some new people. It’s a nice chance to interact with other librarians from around the country that I normally wouldn’t get the chance to talk with.

The main reason I was at the conference was because I am taking over as chair of the ACRL Chapters Council. I won’t bore you with the details of that because if you’re not a librarian you don’t really care. But a lot of what happens at the annual and midwinter conferences of the American Library Association is the business of keeping the organization itself and its various divisions going and working for the profession so there is a lot of committee work happening. I had three meetings plus a dinner that were connected to my involvement on that committee. They were all really productive, great meetings and I’m very excited about the things I have planned for the next year.

I also presented on a panel talking about free technology for use in libraries. It was a small crowd, but I think the presentation went well. I also had the chance to attend a few actual programs in the midst of all my other obligations at the conference. I was mostly concentrating on programs on copyright because I have somehow become the go to person for questions about copyright at my library. Two of the ones I went to were excellent. They were engaging and I learned a lot. One of them though was so bad that I left in the middle. I also attended a few non-copyright related programs that were pretty good. The biggest problem with the ALA conference is that it is so huge and spread out that if you’re in a program that’s not very good it can be difficult to just duck out of it and into something else. Next year though they’re making changes that will supposedly keep all the actual programs in the convention center while just having all the committee meeting spread out in hotels across the city, which will help with that problem I guess. Though it will make it more difficult for those of us attending committee meetings to take in programs between meetings if our hotels are remote from the convention center.

All in all it was an excellent conference and I’m excited to start working on some of the things that came up there.

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