A Report on This Year’s ALA

I’m in the airport waiting to fly back to Maine after another successful ALA (despite the Travel Gods’ best efforts to keep me from getting down to Orlando). It hasn’t been a perfect trip, but it’s been a good one in spite of that. What have I been up to? Let me tell you.

  • I’ve been doing the library thing. I had an all day meeting on Friday focused on how to be an effective leader at the state level. It was filled with other state chapter presidents, and we discussed things lie how to respond to sensitive legislation and how to run state-wide programs. It’s always nice to hear how things are going elsewhere in the country. (Also, lunch was at a Cuban restaurant which was particularly tasty . . .)
  • I’ve been heading to library panels. There was one on the future of library technology with the presenters being head honchos from some of the biggest library companies out there. (EBSCO, Innovative, Ex Libris, etc.) Kind of interesting to see them bicker in public. I’m thinking a reality show might be in order. ALA is a huge conference, and this convention center was particularly large. It took forever to get from one place to another, and that was fairly irritating. So far, my favorite convention center has been Chicago’s. It’s big, but doable.
  • Fighting off being sick. I woke up in the morning last week with some tightness in my chest, and that’s developed into a cough over the last few days. It hasn’t helped that I’ve been talking so much. My voice is about three octaves lower now, and that’s if it even works when I try to talk. I think the trip down took a ton out of me, and then I just kept pushing through things. Kind of didn’t have a choice, but it’ll be really nice to get home and be able to rest.
  • Eating. And eating. And then eating some more. I haven’t been on a scale since I left, and I’m not looking forward to getting on one when I get home, but I figured I’d live it up while I was here and use my “Conference Diet Immunity” to its fullest extent. I ate at ‘Ohana, Raglan Road, and Boma, and all three of them were pretty incredible. The bread pudding at ‘Ohana was sublime, Raglan Road had great Irish ambience (with live music and dancing through the whole dinner), and I’ve always loved Boma. Fantastic food from across Africa.
  • Mingling with Maine librarians. It seemed like anywhere I went, it was inevitable that I’d run into someone from home, even in a conference with 20,000 people or so. I think I counted 19 librarians that I saw from Maine. Fun times.
  • Book signing! Adaptive had a booth for me on Saturday, and I got to sign free books for librarians. Very nice to see the enthusiasm for the book, and I signed and gave away every copy they’d brought, so that was a good feeling. I also found out some of the promotional plans they have for THE MEMORY THIEF, and that got me pretty excited.
  • Hanging out with authors. On the exhibit hall floor, at lunches, in halls. Great to see some faces I’d only met online before.
  • Nabbing free books. My kids love it when I go to ALA, because I scour the floor for books they might like. I’m thinking I might have them write some reviews for me that I could post on the blog. I sent three boxes home this time . . .
  • Speaking with library vendors about everything from technology to furniture. Gotta make it worth my while to be down here on business, you know. Not that I think you’d find it particularly interesting, but I didn’t want you to think I wasn’t, you know, working while I was here as well.
  • Figuring out Uber. We don’t have much call for it in Maine, but I really came to appreciate it down here in Orlando. I’d heard about it, but had never used it. Being able to call a private car that cost a fraction of what a taxi would cost, and have it appear wherever I was whenever I wanted, and never having to worry about giving credit cards over to people or paying with cash . . . I can totally see why people love it. So easy to use!
  • And of course I made time for the Game of Thrones finale yesterday evening. But I won’t talk about that to keep it unspoiled, other than to say I really loved this season.

Anyway. Here’s hoping it’s a smooth flight home. It’s been fun, Orlando. I think I’ll come back at Thanksgiving . . .

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