ALA 2014 in Las Vegas

Well hello there my poor neglected blog. Sorry for the radio silence around these parts. I’ve been traveling over the past 2 weeks or so. First I was on vacation with my family in San Diego, which I get into more detail about within the next couple of days. I haven’t had time to sort through the pictures I took for that post yet. So I’m going to go a little out of order and post about the trip I took to Las Vegas for the American Library Association conference immediately following that vacation. This will be a fairly quick post because this blog is supposed to be about happy things and lets face it Vegas is not really my thing. I am not into the gaudiness. It reminds me of Times Square in New York, which I also loathe, except that it’s the entire tourist part of the city. I don’t gamble. I can’t drink. I am not fond of it being 110 degrees. I don’t like walking through people’s smoke. I don’t like being lost and wandering around aimlessly every time I have to find somewhere in a casino hotel because they refuse to sign things well in order to keep you trapped in there. I don’t like being propositioned by skeezy men. I don’t like being surrounded by stupidly drunk people on public transit. Need I go on? I don’t think so. You get the point.

So what pray tell could I possibly write about that was good about this trip? Well first off, the conference itself was useful even if I was not fond of the location it was in. I went to several good sessions that provided me with information that will be helpful in my job. The committee meetings I went to were productive, and I think we’re moving in a really good direction. I also had several opportunities to do some networking and hopefully be helpful to some other people in what they’re looking to do in the future. You always hear that networking is the real reason you go to conferences. I don’t think that I’m super good at connecting with people who I might have a mutually beneficial relationship with work wise, but this conference I got to chat with at least two people about common things we’re working on.

Case in point about my lack of beneficial networking, generally I somehow manage to connect with librarians that are doing entirely different things than me. Not that this is a bad thing because they’re awesome people and I like having them as friends, but I wouldn’t call it networking as such because there’s not much for example that a children’s librarian is doing that is going to be relevant to my work in an academic library. Anyway, I did get to use the conference to connect with some friends that I usually only get to interact with online, so that was fun.

Although Vegas is somewhat known for its food these days with lots of celebrity chef restaurants, I can’t say that I had any super amazing meals. I had a decent burger and yummy milkshake at Gordan Ramsey’s BURGR in Planet Hollywood. The fries were subpar though. One of my friends and I decided to splurge and go out for a fancy dinner one night while we were there. We went to the Eiffel Tower restaurant at the top of the Paris hotel and casino. It was fine, but nothing I was overly impressed with especially for the price. Though the potatoes alone might have been worth the $75 price of my meal.

Also I cannot fault Vegas for its workers. Obviously a good chunk of their population makes a living working in the hospitality/tourism industry and they apparently know it. Aside from one waitress that wasn’t great, the service I had the entire time I was there was great. Everyone was super friendly and helpful. And I was in multiple sessions where an AV person came to set things up and checked on us multiple times and let us know where they would be if we had problems. Most of the time if the AV equipment isn’t working right good luck finding someone in a convention center or hotel who can help you out in a timely fashion. So kudos to Vegas for really having well trained customer service staff. We in libraries should have been taking notes on that during our conference.

All in all despite my numerous complaints about Las Vegas itself, the conference was good. This was the first time that the conference has been held in Las Vegas since 1973. Here’s hoping it’s another 30+ years before it’s there again.

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