ALA reminiscences: thank you (yes, you)

OK, I’ve done my obligatory post criticizing the LITA board, and yes, I totally believe the membership needs to hold the Board’s feet to the fire (for all that I am friends with quite a few of them). But I don’t want to leave the impression that I’m nothing but critical, as in fact I had a wonderful time at ALA and I want to specifically call out some of the good things…People, mostly, really.

Finally a long, rambling conversation with Jason Clark, whom I’ve vaguely known and very much respected for some time, but not had the chance to really talk to. He let me ramble about Coase. It was nerdcore. Very happy.

Hanging in the tiki bar with John Jackson and Lauren Comito and Sara Kelley-Mudie.

Discovering, to my complete surprise, that I like being an exhibitor. And it’s not just the rock-star feeling of being able to blow past the guard into the exhibit hall before it opens by flashing the special badge — it’s that I actually do like spending that much time talking to people. It takes an effort to pretend to be an extrovert, to amp up the shiny, but I got to meet all these interesting people, people who came to our table just to say they loved us, people who asked pointed questions that made our thinking better. And, oh yeah, I like the way it feels to be all shiny like that, for all that it’s totally exhausting and I pay for it later (I’m finally caught up on sleep! oh wait. I’m not).

It was also strangely liberating, having this schedule with almost nothing on it. Only left the exhibit hall for things I absolutely had to. Nothing overwhelming about planning my schedule this time…

Serendipitous, unexpected lunch with John Jackson (again!) and Brett Bonfield. Dinner with Brett was one of the high points of Dallas but we hadn’t been able to make our schedules line up this time, so having a lunch plan just materialize was excellent…

Co-chairing the inaugural meeting of the Library Code Year Interest Group. A solid group of people showed up despite our outlying location, and we had a really information-dense, participatory discussion at which we came up with lots of great ideas for stuff to do. All of these ideas need lots more involvement from other people to materialize, so if you want to learn code, help others learn code, et cetera, read the project list and choose how you’ll contribute!

Saying a sentence I never would have guessed would escape my mouth, “I really like my committee” — I’m on the committee to make LITA National Forum 2013 happen. I already knew Margaret Heller, Eric Phetteplace, and Ken Varnum to some degree, and am excited about the chance to work with them and get to know them better; I’m favorably impressed by the rest of the group as well. I think we’re going to have some creative ideas and put on a hell of a show. And, of course, I want to hear how you think we can make Forum 2013 mindblowingly fabulous — what should we do? what shouldn’t we? What’s worked and hasn’t in the past? We have a lot of flexibility in terms of format and theme (fun!).

The Rock Bottom Remainders concert, which was pretty much the most fun I’d had in months. I read a lot of Amy Tan in high school, but somehow the gold-lame-catsuit dominatrix angle escaped me. And who knew Dave Barry’s little brother could rock out a harmonica. (Or that the two ASL interpreters, dance-interpreting away, would be the best show in the room.)

LITA happy hour. Of course, I always love that.

The fact that numerous librarians I only knew from Twitter — including library school students — in fact introduced themselves to me! I totally want people to do that and I love it when people have the self-confidence to. So, Topher and Celine and Kai, thanks for saying hi. Sorry we didn’t have more time to talk, glad we had the time we did!

Meeting Meredith Farkas. About damn time.

Battledecks, as a judge this time! Actually getting to see all the talks…who knew.

The ridiculous, insane amounts of positive feedback I get from all of you for…being who I am and doing what I do, I guess. I admit, I’m a total egotist, but even so, I’m just me, and this person you are reacting to is apparently more special and talented than I am along every possible axis. I’m delirious and humbled by it. I’ll try to live up to her.

After I’ve gotten another week of sleep.

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