ALA 2005 – Swag

When: Saturday, June 25 2005
Where: McCormick Place, Chicago IL
People told me that ALA was a great place to pick up free samples. I figured that meant a few keychains, pens, and maybe a flashlight or two. While those were indeed there, boy was I underestimating things!

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.

ALA 2005 – Membership I

When: Saturday, June 25 2005 04:00 PM
Where: McCormick Place, Chicago IL
My Role: Attendee

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.

ALA 2005 – Graphic Novel Pavilion

When: Sunday, June 26 2005
Where: McCormick Place, Chicago IL
My Role: Attendee
The Graphic Novel Pavilion was a very high traffic area throughout my two days visiting the ALA exhibits. This probably had much to do with the normally rather expensive freebie samples, but I do think that graphic novel collections are also becoming larger in public libraries – so that couldn’t have hurt attendance.

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.

ALA/Proquest Scholarship Bash

When: Saturday, June 25 2005 08:00 PM
Where: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago IL
My Role: Attendee
After a little soul searching, I decided to buy a ticket for the ALA/Proquest Scholarship Benefit Bash at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry last night.

$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.

ALA 2005 – 6/24 Summary

When: Friday, June 24 2005
Where: McCormick Place, Chicago IL
My Role: Attendee
note: re-posted this after I realized I hadn’t use structured blogging.

What a great day!

Picture is of the participants in the Library Journal Blogger’s Roundtable.

Left to right: Luke, Me, Aaron, Laura, Meredith, Sherri, Michael

Discussion was fascinating, and very well moderated by LJ. A photographer took a number of pictures of us, and the whole experience is going to be turned into an article (!) in either the August or September issue.

I started the day with a trip to the Wired Nextfest, as recounted and photographed in the next post down.

After that, I attended ALA’s job placement center orientation for about an hour. Met up with Lori, Emily and Melissa from Pitt there – was fun to see some familiar faces.

Next up was a lunch break. I treated myself to some ribs and tacos at the giant outdoor food festival descending across Chicago’s parks this weekend.

Afterwards, I quickly dashed through the beatingly hot sun to see Chris Anderson (Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine) speak on The Long Tail at the OCLC Symposium. Took lots of notes, so that’ll be a separate entry. As a nice touch, they had a glossy reprint for everybody of Anderson’s “The Long Tail” article from last October.

I had to leave after Anderson spoke, missing out on the followup speakers and Q&A session. But it was worth it, for 3-5 was the aforementioned Bloggers’ Roundtable. What an amazing group of people! I was really caught up in the discussion, so didn’t take any notes. But the whole thing was recorded for use in the article, and I’m sure Library Journal will sum it up well. I’ll link to the story when it appears. Topics included: Effects of blogging on our personal/professional lives, allowing comments on official library blogs, differences between blogs and listservs, collaboration, blogging ethics, etc. Those are just a few off the top of my head.

Afterwards Aaron, Michael and I went downstairs to the LJ techblog meetup / mission discussion. Aaron in particular had some excellent ideas, and I think the whole setup will really be whipped into shape soon.

Next up, stumble exhaustedly back to the hotel. Went for a very late dinner with Nadia and Dan, and here I am.

Fulfilled and exhausted.

Wired NextFest in pictures

I got a great chance to visit the Wired Nextfest this morning before the ALA conference opened. Check out the pictures by clicking on the Skycar:

Flying cars, a cloned cat, robotic Philip K. Dick, Mythbusters, and more!

Lots of fun, though since it was Education Day and the ‘fest isn’t officially open yet, not all the exhibits were up and functional yet.

Pictures etc.

Having a great time so far, and the conference hasn’t even started yet!

All the pictures I take are going here:

The ones of actual ALA events, premises and people are getting the ALA2005 Flickr tag. To see everyone else’s who is doing the same, go here:

Tomorrow’s (very tentative) schedule:

9-11:30: Education day at NextFest
12-1: Placement services / vendor browsing
1:30-4:30: OCLC Symposium – Mining the Long Tail: Libraries, Amazoogle and Infinite Availability (I won’t be able to catch the whole thing, but will get in at least the first hour)
3-5: Bloggers’ Roundtable
5-?: LJ Techblog meetup / socializing / ?

Oh, and I have decided to attend Saturday night’s Scholarship Bash at the Museum of Science & Industry. Bought my ticket today.

There has been an alarm…

Sitting at my gate at the airport now. For at least the last 20 minutes, the loudspeaker has been repeating:

“There has been an alarm in the building. While this report is being verified, please do not use the elevator. Please await further information.”

Nobody seems too worried though…

I’m it!

Michael tagged me!

My answers:

Total Volume of music files on my computer:
1457 Songs, 3.5 days, 6.31GB

The last CD I Bought Was:
Star Wars: Episode III Soundtrack

The last Song I bought at iTunes was:
Johnny Cash – Hurt

Song playing right now:
Ben Folds Five – Selfless, Cold, and Composed

Five songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me:

Mean a lot:

(I’m not sure a lot of songs have deep meaning for me, but here’s some that make me flash back to particular memories)
1. That song with dogs barking “Jingle Bells”: Listening to the radio in the kitchen of the first house I lived in, probably pre-school
2. Beastie Boys – Intergalactic: Drama Club, Junior year of High School. The year we did “Oklahoma”
3. Anything off of Garbage’s 2.0 album: Family trip to Hawaii, 1998. I listened to it on the plane most of the way.
4. Vertical Horizon – Everything You Want: Freshman year of college
5. The Decemberists – Billy Liar: The radio show Brian and I had senior year of college

5 Songs I Listen to a lot:

(this list varies extensively from month to month)
1. Ben Folds Five – Army
2. Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
3. Tomoyasu Hotei – Battle Without Honor or Humility (Kill Bill soundtrack)
4. The Spinners – Rubberband Man
5. Radiohead – Street Spirit (Fade Out)

I have rather eclectic tastes.

First concert I ever attended:
Um… I’m really not sure. Might have been Newsboys on a Church youth group outing.

Tagging 3 more with this deadly meme:


Chicago and things to come

edit: Thanks to Sharon for pointing out that I misformated the LITAblog link. Fixed now!

I’m done with class for a bit, and packing up things for my trip to ALA in Chicago!

During my last conference attendance, at Computers in Libraries back in March, I did a lot of coverage here of various sessions. This time around, things will be different.

My thoughts on and summaries of ALA sessions will be posted at the Public Library Association’s blog: In addition, I’ll be continuing to contribute to Library Journal’s Techblog.

Back at home on HiddenPeanuts, I’ll be posting more personal thoughts like my experiences in Chicago itself, pictures, anecdotes, etc. I’ll do my best to link to my posts elsewhere, too.

Expect nightly updates, as I don’t want to pay for wi-fi in the conference center.

In other ALA coverage, the Library & Information Technology Association promises many posts at Sharon, a classmate of mine, is posting so check it out!

Right now my big conundrum is whether or not to attend the ALA Scholarship Bash Saturday night at the Museum of Science and Industry. Opinions/recommendations are welcome.

Almost forgot, I’ll be spending Friday morning at the Wired NextFest! Its “education day”, so as a student I get in for free! Expect many pictures.