Seattle will be my 6th ALA conference as an American Libraries columnist, and my 2nd since the summer 2006 launch of Hectic Pace. It’s part of my duty to cover the exhibit floor for the magazine, and here I will admit it for the first time–it is my favorite part of the job.
There’s something one cannot get from press releases, phone calls, e-mails, and webinars. This is not to say that one can get a whole lot more from a scripted demo by someone who has worked for a company for 2 weeks, but there’s something about walking the vendor floor. When someone once asked me how I keep the information about so many vendors and products in my head, I answered honestly: osmosis.
For those who don’t recall, I came to accept the title of this blog with some reluctance. But it was mostly how I feel when I’m at an ALA conference that made me embrace “Hectic Pace.” At conference there are not nearly enough hours in the day–not enough coffees, not enough meals (I have a tendency to forget to schedule breakfast and lunch), not enough time to “go grab a drink.”
I know I shouldn’t complain because there are so many (too many) people who don’t have the luxury of going to conferences, but I will say this. When I think about being a member of the ALA, I think about Midwinter and Annual; it is where I feel like a member the most. It is the only place to experience the confluence of the disparate parts of the profession–vendors, publishers, librarians, paraprofessionals, new professionals, die-hards, curmudgeons, and true believers. You never have to like it all, but it’s certainly all there.
So, the point of all this is that I am going to try something a little new this year. I am going to try to blog while I am at ALA Midwinter, hectic pace allowing, rather than wait to see my musings come out in the March issue of the magazine. The magazine coverage will still be there (in all of its glorious and truly wonderfully redesigned glory). The blogging will just appear first.
I’m gearing up, ever-morphing schedule in hand. If you’re there, look for me on the floor, and just try to catch me.
[This post originally appeared as part of American Libraries’ Hectic Pace Blog and is archived here.]