Michael’s ALA Midwinter Report

By libraryman | January 21st, 2010 | Comment?

Now that the ALA Midwinter conference has wrapped up and all the travel home is finished its time for a wrap up post, chock full of juicy details. So where to start, where to start… Personally, this was the most engaging and useful ALA-MW I’ve attended. It just seemed more welcoming and useful. The sessions, the level of engagement of the attendees, the conversation, it really was chock full of conferencey goodness. I suppose that impression isn’t entirely WebJunction centric on my part, but it all did seem very cohesive and things just seemed to come together nicely all around.

I’d even go so far as to say that even though it took me two days to get to my secondary post-ALA-MW destination of Dublin, OH (to OCLC HQ don’t you know:), and I only got 90 minutes of sleep during that trip to Dublin from Boston, it was still, without a doubt, worth the trip. Sure, that was a brutal travel experience, but it was totally worth it. Why? Here are a couple of the things that stood out for me:

First, and this also isn’t really about libraries or WebJunction, but Boston is a great city to visit! I imagine lots of you know that already, but what I saw of it really made me want to see more and maybe even go back for a long weekend vacation some time. When I became a librarian I sure didn’t expect that a fringe benefit would be to sometimes get to see new cities! The taxi and shuttle rides, meals and evenings out for Libraryland social events at Midwinter this year provided the opportunity to see incredibly historic locale after incredibly historic locale….and now I want to go back, you know, when you aren’t rushing between meetings and events. If you had a chance to see any stand out libraries in Boston it would be great to hear your story and add it to the list of things to see next time a trip to Boston rolls around.

Another really nice thing at the conference was the humble, but very enjoyable little WebJunction reception. We got to visit with some old and new friends and folks from some of our partner orgs. About 35 of us got together for a nice, relaxed visit where we could all meet face to face, chat and snack a bit. We also held that meeting at 3:00, which seemed like a welcome time for many folks who were tired from a very active string of days and appreciated a chance to chill out a bit and chat in such a friendly environment. Since we are planning more, similar events both for PLA and ALA Annual, if that timing sounds either good or bad to you, please drop a line. We’re always hoping to make these events as useful as they can be and timing is part of that.
WebJunction @ #alamw10

The OCLC Symposium was also very interesting, with the CityYear information really jumping out in particular for me (btw, Chrystie stepped in to do some mic work during this event and you can see here in the photo below). Some quality notes for the symposium are here:
OCLC Symposium #alamw10

It seemed to me that the booth/exhibit hall was a little quieter than usual this year, but I may have been visiting during more quiet times. Did you think the exhibits were quieter this year? I just read this afternoon that attendance was up from Denver, so maybe that impression isn’t spot on?

I snuck in to a smattering of ALA meetings and saw some great presentations as well, but since this post is getting long I’ll cut myself off here. I will say that some of the larger after hours events like the LITA get together, the Tweetup and the facebook meeting were really great opportunities to connect with smart, friendly, funny people. I’d encourage more folks to attend of come up with similar meetings like these in the future. They are later in the day, but even hitting one or two of them can be quite useful. And if you can’t find out where those gatherings are, you can drop me a line and I’ll get you all connected. Then while your there, we can talk libraries! 

We’d love to hear any observations about ALA Midwinter that you have…even if you didn’t attend you may have seen some interesting tidbits fly by. It seems like you could consume more things for the event whether you were there or not, thanks to so many of us being connected online now, in so many ways. So feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts and observations on ALA Midwinter 2010.

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