I’m in Augusta at the moment, on my way to ALA’s annual conference–in Chicago this year. And as I sit here waiting for my bus, I can’t help but think back to my only other time going to ALA. There are some really remarkable similarities and parallels to this trip.
Six years ago, I was just finished with my MLS degree. I was in the middle of the job hunt, and I’d applied to around 50 different jobs. I went to ALA with one main purpose: interview and get a job. Or get closer to a job. (Before I got my degree, I’d read articles that implied jobs were all over the place in librarian land. LIARS!) I had an interview scheduled at Hood College in Maryland, and another scheduled in Maine for right after the conference. While I was at the conference, I interviewed with big libraries, from Philadelphia to Seattle and everywhere in between. Mainly publics.
This time, I’m going back as the Vice President of the Maine Library Association. I’ve got a job–the job I interviewed for six years ago in Maine. Before, I felt very much like Oliver, gruel bowl in hand, begging for a place at the table. I don’t feel like that anymore, and that’s wonderful. It’s very hard for me to believe it’s only been six years since then–almost to the day. Where last time, most of my time was spent in interviews, this time, the bulk of my time will be in presentations and meetings, looking for ways to improve my library (and all libraries in Maine, if that doesn’t sound too ostentatious.) It’s primarily a business trip.
I’ll be doing a couple of fun things, too.
Six years ago, I did a signing at ALA, believe it or not. It was for Cavern of Babel, and we were giving away free copies of the book. I’m doing a signing this time, too–for Vodnik, of course. I don’t think free copies will be given away, alas. The signing is at 10AM on Saturday morning. Six years ago, I swung by the Mirrorstone Booth, where Stacy Whitman was cheerily promoting the imprint. I had a book on submission to her (I think it was WEAVER OF DREAMS). This time I’m going to dinner with her, since she’s my editor.
Again–crazy to think of the things that can change in six years.
Other things on the agenda? I’m hoping to catch up with Brandon Sanderson, who’s doing some events there. I’ll be hanging with the MLA President. I’ll be going to Mullet Night at the White Sox game tomorrow evening. It promises to be an eventful weekend. ALA is huge–thousands of librarians, tons of exhibitors. Tonight, I’ll be getting my bearings and figuring out my game plan.
In the meantime, I’ve got to do my favorite activity: flying. I’ll try to update ya’ll as I jaunt across the country. My hope is that I avoid Columbian Soccer Teams. (Inside joke for longtime readers.) But rest assured–as I travel, I’ll be reflecting back on the me six years ago quite a bit. You can reflect with me! My blog was up and active back then–check out the posts from six years ago and follow along. 🙂 (Note that six years ago, I had just rewritten the climax to LESANA, a book which would change its name to VODNIK shortly thereafter . . . )
Which leads me to ask: Where were you six years ago?