ALA Midwinter

I attended ALA Midwinter in Denver, Colorado this February, which was a good experience, but when I got home from the trip, I felt worn out. I had a very busy fall. During the conference, I was wrapping up a book review, putting together a conference proposal, and working on my review documentation. As I sat in my room munching on a salad while writing, I realized this was not dissimilar to what I was doing at home most nights after work–still working, not spending time with others, not exercising, etc. I had been stretching myself too thinly and not taking care of myself. I took a step back from social media, turned down requests, canceled a few things, and used some sick days to start getting a little help. Making the right steps to get myself back on track have helped me feel a little better, and I plan to begin writing here a bit more now that I have some more energy. As a way to jump back in, I have a quick Midwinter overview.

This was my first time attending Midwinter, which I attended to co-lead ACRL’s Library Marketing and Outreach Interest Group (LMOIG) discussion with my co-convener Jen Park. It was lovely to meet her in person, and we actually ran into each other in the restroom on the way to the ACRL Leadership Council meeting. I’ve really enjoyed working with her!

LMOIG Leadership Team

After the Council meeting, we attended the Opening Keynote, given by #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Kahn-Cullors and #1000blackgirlbooks founder Marley Dias. It was a humbling experience, and I was amazed to meet them both and receive signed copies of their books, one of which I gifted to a co-worker.

I only attended a few other meetings, but I enjoyed the Undergraduate Librarians Discussion Group (UGLi DG) meeting. I also experienced falling snow for the first time.

I visited the Denver Public Library, which has seven floors and is home to the world renowned Western History Collection.

Reforma held a fundraiser at Museo de las Americas; the museum had just opened a new exhibit on pachuco culture. (I somehow missed Junot Díaz appearance at the fundraiser, though! And this is a small gallery! I’m hoping he showed after I left, but I did leave at about 10 pm.)

Lowrider piñata

I think I had the most fun at the Denver Art Museum. I actually liked that it wasn’t that large, and I managed to see everything except for a few things in a just a couple of hours. I’m not one to write reviews, and I actually wrote one for their Facebook page. In case you don’t have a Facebook account, here is the text:

I really enjoyed my visit!

I was actually able to see most of the museum in a couple of hours, which was perfect as I am in Denver for a librarian conference full of meetings. As a librarian, I was very moved by Xiaoze Xie’s book censorship exhibit. I also thought the Stampede: Animals in Art exhibit was a lot of fun.

I happened to come by during the #heartsforarts campaign and spotted a few make-and-take craft carts and the participatory poster about what visitors treasure about the museum. I also saw an area that has soft seating and Spanish- and books available for young children. I really like that there are interactive activities for people of all ages to enjoy.

I love the integration of Spanish throughout the museum, as well–from the descriptions of items to the books available for children. I would love for my mom to come visit as her predominant language is Spanish.

I also took note that the museum is free for all children 18 and under. What a wonderful way to make art available to our youth!

From fun exhibits, interactive elements, and integration of both Spanish and English, I highly recommend this family-friendly art museum.

I generally don’t go on many excursions between conference sessions, but I’m glad I took the time to do a little exploring in Denver. In June I’ll be attending ALA Annual in New Orleans, which will be full of programs, including a co-sponsored program by the LMOIG and University Libraries Section Academic Outreach Committee, and, hopefully, a little sightseeing, too.

Napa: Eats, Antiques, & Library Tourism

In October, my husband and I went on a romantic getaway to Napa. Neither of us had ever been to Napa, and we only live two hours away. I don’t know why we hadn’t done it before. While there, we saw traces of the damage the earthquake had done in August 2014, but we saw a community that was vibrant and confident.

Our hotel had a homemade chocolate chip cookie hour at 6 pm. Yum!

I really enjoyed the plant life. I don’t have a super green thumb, but I do appreciate nature and am okay with low-maintenance plants.

We ate at Celadon and at The Pear Southern Bistro, checked out the Riverfront, watched an Americana show, and got our antiquing fix at Antiques on Second where we picked up a theater-style bench for our front door area, a corduroy blazer for me, and a couple of vintage necklaces. We also made a quick stop to the Oxbow Public Market. I picked up some cranberry and white polka-dot (I am really into polka-dots) Keds at a chain department store when my feet were giving out from the flats and boots I brought with me.

We also went to Napa Bookmine.

I also, unexpectedly, came across a September 11th Memorial. I noticed a structure of some kind outside a store, and I didn’t realize what it was until I got close to the sign. I was looking at beams from the World Trade Center.


We made an impromptu trip to the Napa County Library, and I was not let down. What a gorgeous, modern library! Study rooms for days, different seating arrangements, lovely signage, and it was busy! People reading, people browsing, and people finishing up activities from the first annual How-To Festival. The staff were above and beyond amazing! I introduced myself and one of the staff members (I am so sad that I can’t remember her name anymore; I meant to send an email about the spectacular customer service we received) showed me a project they did involving a succulent planter made out of a book. I love succulents, so I was very into this! She also gave me a book art example that she had made for the book art activity from earlier that day. You rock, Napa County Library!

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We had a really great trip! We did an epic Souhtwest adventure this past summer, so this getaway was just perfect. Short and sweet! We actually used the photo below for our Christmas cards this year. At the library, where else?

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