Daily Archives for 6/27/2005
Today there was a thread on Slashdot discussing Wired Nextfest, which I attended last weekend in Chicago. In the comments of this thread, someone posted a link to my Flickr set of images taken there. The system works 🙂
Back in March, I mentioned John Scalzo’s effort to begin a video game collection in his library. Now thanks to LISnews, I have a chance to follow up. In the new article, I find some pleasant surprises. For one thing, … Continue reading
By no means complete, and in no particular order. 1. I need luggage with wheels. Lugging my duffel bag around Chicago was not fun. 2. Most vendors are very friendly people, even when talking to students with no purchasing power … Continue reading
The ALA Placement Services section opened Friday morning at 9. I was there, along with Lori, Emily and Melissa from Pitt. We made up a substantial part of the line waiting to get in!
ALA has an internet messaging system set up, wherein you post your resume. Employers can browse/search it and get in touch with you, or you can pick out interesting employers and contact them. Alternately, job hunters can wander the booths talking to the 20 or so “official” recruiters there.
I went in with one interview scheduled. By the time I left I had a number of informal chats, 3 interviews, one request for a second interview, and most notably a job offer! The system works! I had a number of other employers who weren’t present at the conference contact me as well, so I’ve sent out e-mails and am waiting to hear back.
I suppose I should talk about the job offer. I don’t want to identify who it is (or the others I interviewed with) publicly until my mind is made up. But the offer is very tempting, and I’m thrilled to have any offer at all – its a wonderful feeling to know that my skills actually fill a need and someone is interested.
Especially since graduation is a mere five weeks away now. Man, time has gone fast!
So watch this space for more news.
Soon to be ex-president of the ALA, Carol Brey-Casiano, opened the session. She soon handed things off to Chicago’s Mayor Daley. While I know virtually nothing about his career or politics, based solely on last night’s speech I’m inclined to like the man. He seems genuinely supportive of libraries, the public kind in particular. 7 more branches are opening in Chicago just in the remainder of this year! Daley also denounced the Patriot Act, and captivated the audience the whole way through.
Later, Senator Barack Obama came out on stage as the keynote speaker of the session. While I thought Mayor Daley had stage presence, Senator Obama blew him away! His speech focused on a call for basic literacy education and promoted libraries as a major source of this education.
[after walking on stage to thunderous applause] “Whoa, that was a lot of librarians.”
“In the beginning, there was The Word.” I thought Senator Obama made an interesting choice, tying in Scripture to his speech in a mostly non-religious way. It went over well with the crowd.
“Truth isn’t about who yells the loudest, but who has the right information.” (this one I may have paraphrased a bit, I was writing in a hurry)
Senator Obama also noted that by reading to his kids, he has now just about memorized “Goodnight Moon”.
As a side note, the ALA really needs to revamp whatever system or person they use to create closed captions on the video feed of speakers. There were major typos galore, including “Libraryes” every time the word was used.
I couldn’t stay for the whole event, but did catch a number of teams. Most were excellent, and all were a lot of fun to watch. The Pitt Crew, my home team, was great! While they weren’t quite in the lead when I left, they totally should have been.
I really hope this becomes a regular event at ALA and elsewhere. I took part in a team at the Fairport Public Library two years ago in a 4th of July Parade. It was great! The public thought it was hilarious (in a good way), and the whole thing made great promotion for the library. Local TV news coverage and everything.
Someone who stayed the whole time, please let me know how it turned out!
I just ran into Lori and Sarah from the team at the airport (where I’m writing this deluge of entries for later posting). Unfortunately, they didn’t place in the final results. But spirits are high and fun was had by all.
Here’s everything I obtained just yesterday browsing the exhibits, pictured to the right:
A few more things were added this morning. Also, not everything shown there on the bed made the “final cut” into my duffel bag. So the net amount of stuff is probably about the same.
List of highlights:
Marvel Comics gave out the volume 1 collected edition of J. Michael Straczinski’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Normally that costs $15 in stores!
DC Comics had a number of single issues I grabbed, notably Identity Crisis #1 and Ex Machina #1.
OCLC reprinted Chris Anderson’s Wired article “The Long Tail” in glossy magazing-sized format to give out at his talk on the same subject.
Rochelle gave me a Blog Person button!
$31 in accumulated Bash Cash (see here for more explination)
Chronicles of Narnia movie poster
Also a number of things I picked up as gifts for other people, which I don’t want to list here in order to preserve the surprise.
And while not really swag, I need to mention the Alex Ross Batman ALA poster that I bought and had him sign. It didn’t survive the flight back here 100% intact, but is still great. You can see what it looks like in the attached image.
I have a theory that if one were really dedicated to swag hunting, the trip could pay for itself.
Saturday afternoon, I decided to attend the first membership meeting of ALA2005. These are the meetings where members vote on resolutions and ALA policies. I believe the current quorum is set at 80 members – if that many are present, items can be voted up or down. I doubt there was a huge amount more than that in attendance.
I missed the beginning, and came in on the tail end of a discussion on whether or not to create discount memberships for retired Librarians. I voted for it, and it passed by a large margin. Democracy in action, I thought!
Then, the next item came up – and dominated the remaining half hour of the session. I’ll try to locate the resolution text on the ALA web site, but for now here’s a transcription of a somewhat blurry photo I took of the projected text (click on it at the top of this entry for a larger version).
Resolution on the Connection between the Iraq War and Libraries, MD#7
Resolved that the American Library Association calls for the immediate and unconditional withdraw from Iraq of all U.S. military forces, and the return of full sovereignty to the people of Iraq.
Resolved that the United States provide material assistance through the United Nations for the reconstruction of Iraq, including its museums, libraries, schools, and other cultural resources.
Resolved that this resolution be sent to all members of congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the President of the United States, and the [word blocked in photo, possibly press].
Ultimately it passed, but only after one member moved to end discussion and just vote already – otherwise it never would have been resolved in that session and probably would still be up in the air.
The discussion was… intense. It quickly devolved into emotional pleas, that while passionate really had nothing to do with the resolution itself.
I for one, think this resolution never should have even come up for a vote. Whether it was voted up or down, either way the ALA would probably upset a good portion of the population. That’s something libraries (especially public) as a whole can’t afford right now.
And on a practical matter – do people really think that if we did withdraw all troops tomorrow (unrealistic to begin with), that we’d just be able to waltz back in with construction equipment instead?
While the discussion would have gone on for a very long time without voting to bring the resolution to a vote (I just noticed how complicated that phrase is), I think it could have done good to not cut things off. Had speaking continued, it would have been suspended for the night when the session ended. Discussion would have been picked back up today, with possibly a larger audience once word spread, and hopefully cooled down heads. But what’s done is done, I suppose.
Still an interesting experience, even if I was disappointed with the outcome.
Marvel and DC each had booths, as did Dark Horse and a number of smaller publishers. Manga was the name of the game at most of them – there were piles of books to take back to your library from every publisher. Some attendees had brought their kids, who were having a ball in this aisle!
Not everything was Manga, however. DC gave away some #1 issues which I picked up: Identity Crisis, one of the most contraversial super hero stories of last year; and Ex Machina, one of the few comics I read regularly. From Marvel I picked up the collected edition of the modern Amazing Spider-Man vol.1, which normally has a $15 retail price. But these were limited – Manga is where the circ stats are in library graphic novels, from my experience. If I’d wanted samples, I could probably have filled a whole extra suitcase. DC alone was giving away most of their newly launched CMX line of Manga.
DC also brought in some artists for signings on Saturday – Alex Ross and Gene Ha. Each has done a poster for the ALA at some point, so there was a legitimate reason to bring them in. I could only afford one poster to get signed, so picked the Ross Batman one. While I didn’t get any pictures, Ross seems like a really nice guy. Or maybe he was just glad to not be at a ComiCon for once – not nearly as many fanboys 🙂 Gene Ha, on the other hand, seemed to have been found by the one fanboy in attendance. The poor artist was signing a gigantic stack of comics the attendee had brought with him. Ha was a good man to put up with it. But the lines for both were remarkably short, so maybe it had no real effect on things.
If you’re still at ALA and reading this, check out the pavilion on the exhibitors’ floor! Especially if you work in YA/Teen services – the samples alone could start a collection from scratch.
$35, a little more than I’d usually spend for such an outing. But it was after the museum closed, some of the pay exhibits were included, I’d heard friends rave about the place, and I wanted to do something touristy while in town.
Good choice on my part! ALA ran shuttles from the convention center, which could have been labeled much more clearly. But they worked, I got there shortly after 8. Proquest was giving out battery powered light-up fans, which were a Godsend. The A/C was severely underpowered for some reason.
Not everything at the museum was included in the $35 price. The U-505 and Bodyworlds cost $5 and $10, respectively. Bash Cash to the rescue!
In order to entice attendees to talk to them, about a half dozen vendor booths were giving out certificates during the day, good for purchases at the museum. I made sure to visit them all early. Even so, one was out by the time I got there. But the other five payed off, and I hopped on the shuttle with $31 in Bash Cash to spend! I don’t want to sound like a bad person – I did sit through the vendor’s presentations and even learned a bunch in the process. So I bought tickets to both extended exhibits with money left over.
U-505 was an amazing experience. I’m a sucker for visiting historical sites and artifacts, especially World War II related, and this one was a whopper: A German U-Boat, in drydock and open for tours. The only one ever captured intact, and which the Enigma code machine was taken from. I’m told the exhibit was majorly renovated over the last year and a half, and the museum did a bang-up job. Immaculately placed light and sound simulates what it was like in the last hours of U-505’s German service, and an elaborate multimedia presentation leads you into the drydock. Picture to the left.
Bodyworlds was likewise impressive, but more as a work of art. The exhibits are all real human bodies, donated to the Dr./artist and posed so you can see the muscles and/or veins in action. Every part of the body was preserved through a process called “Plastination”. They really are amazing pieces of art and science to look at – Andrea was even more in awe of the exhibit than I was, as she’d wanted to see it for ages. They don’t allow pictures to be taken, but check out the exhibit’s web site.
Even after all that, I still had $16 in bash cash to spend! Luckily, it was good in the gift shop. I found two freezie mugs; the kind of thing you put in the freezer before use so it keeps your drink cold.
That left me with a mere $1 remaining. Amazingly, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. A group of women leaving donated their remaining bash cash to me – another $10! I had a couple drinks from the bar, and still had enough left over to help Steven buy a sprite on the way out the door.
Totally worth the $35. Even if it was only 3 hours. I’d love to go back to the museum sometime during normal hours and explore their other, less glamorous exhibits.