I went to my first American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in 2010, just a mere semester and a couple of weeks into library school. I was doing a fellowship in DC at the time, and the conference happened to take place there that summer. It was incredibly overwhelming because it’s a giant conference, and I didn’t know anyone or much of anything back then. After that, I didn’t go for a few years. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t go until I was working somewhere full-time. At one point, I was working four library positions, so it was hard to take time off as a part-time employee. I was also really concerned with saving money because my husband was working so hard while I was in school and hunting for a full-time job; it made me feel bad not to be contributing as much as he was putting in.
Fast track, so I went to the conference in Las Vegas last year. I meant to start this blog after I got back to talk about all the things I went to and saw, but now I’ve come back from the conference in San Francisco.
This year, I took my sister with me. Kory, my husband, was going to go with me, but it ended up not working out with his job. My sister and I played Eloise at The Plaza for a few days since I booked at the Westin St. Francis. It’s so fancy it took a minute to figure out the elevator. In between my conference sessions, meetings, and meet-ups, we had a fabulous time shopping, eating Thai, crashing in on the Philippine Independence Day outdoor concert featuring Jessica Sanchez, and catching bits of the SF Pride Parade.
What I love about the craziness of ALA is that it’s mashup of everything library–you can be talking to a public library director, teacher librarian, vendor, dean of library services, reference librarians, librarians who don’t work in libraries. It’s everyone from the rock stars to the in-the-trenches librarians. This happened to me last year. I didn’t realize who I was talking to was a more well-known person until half an hour had passed because Twitter pics are not the same. I almost died. lol
The meeting I most anticipated this year was the Association of College and Research Libraries Library Marketing and Outreach interest group (ACRL LMO IG). Last year, I found myself at a really small meeting for a new interest group. This group has really given me something to focus on in the midst of all the things I can’t necessarily do at work. The IG is just a place to share ideas and inspire others. The idea is that states will have their own meet-ups. I signed up to be Central CA’s rep for ACRL LMO IG last year, and I recruited a librarian at the local UC to help me begin tapping into the Sacramento-Fresno area, but for one reason or another, we didn’t get started. As luck would have it, I happened upon a librarian from a private university about 30 minutes north of me who was on sabbatical when I had contacted her about getting together to form a regional group. I’m excited to see if we can wake up our sleepy area. Those So Cal and Nor Cal librarians are a little more social than the Central CA bunch.
Here’s what else I went to:
Lucha Corpi, Javier Huerta, and Viola Canales: Mexican-American Poetry Panel reminded me of my childhood–making trips to the discount supermarket, visiting Don Juan Foods where my mom worked as a cashier in between cannery seasons at Del Monte, and eating raspas and playing Lotería with my cousins. My upbringing in a tight-knit Mexican-American family in an even tighter-knit Protestant domination has had such a significant impact on my life, I can’t even explain but in poetry. And I haven’t written poetry in many years, partly because I’m not very good at it.
Framing and Enhancing Visual Literacy: Using the New ACRL Framework to Develop Effective Art Instruction was a really great panel that featured librarians at different institutions who incorporate visual literacy into their instruction based on the new framework and Standards for Information Literacy. There were some great lessons and ideas for how to do this, but the one that sticks out to me most was a lesson on how an image of a snake charmer became the image associated with Mami Watta, an African water goddess.
Current Topics Discussion (ACRL IS), which focused on how to establish and strength our partnerships with faculty members, which was led by Amy Wainwright, a fantastic librarian I have gotten to know a little bit through ACRL LMO IG. We discussed problems we have, as well as possible solutions for improving our relations with faculty members. Because I’m at such a small campus, I kind of have an edge when it comes to this, but there is always room to improve, and I know that my slight shyness does get in the way.
Multimodal Literacy and Comics, which focused on how comics can help people see different viewpoints, particularly those from the position of a person of color. These provide another narrative that students might not encounter in school which focuses on the traditional canon. I’m a person who wasn’t exposed to comics until I was 20, and by exposure I mean not exactly reading them but getting to know someone who reads them. I also grew up not having books with characters with my family dynamic in a bilingual/bi-racial household. Let me say, when Marisol MacDonald Doesn’t Match arrived at the public library I was working in at the time, I cried made me cried in the children’s department workroom.
PR Xchange is basically displays and examples of libraries’ marketing materials that you can take home. If you know me, you know that I absolutely love this stuff. That’s a nice display sign,” is something I say on a regular basis. Not that my own designs are gorgeous; my job is way too Jill of all trades to be perfection in one area.
And a million posters…
Plotting a new “maptastic” course: building community and unearthing collections through pop-up exhibits Click here for a copy of the poster.
The Undergraduate Experience: Is it Enhanced Through Employment as a Library Student Worker? Click here for a copy of the poster.
I had a great time. I learned a lot. This sort of makes up for having to miss the ACRL conference in March. Next year, the ALA Annual Conference is in Orlando. ACRL won’t happen again until 2017, but CARL, the CA chapter of ACRL has a conference in 2016. I signed up to help out with the planning recently, so I will go to that. I think I might go to Internet Librarian in October. I’ve always wanted to go, and a colleague mentioned to another colleague that it’s one I would probably really enjoy.