Thursday, August 19, 2010

A bit about the WLA conference

I left a week ago for Victoria. A week ago! My plan was to blog throughout the conference but that didn't happen and now I'm sifting through all of my notes and experiences, wondering which would be the most interesting bits to write about.

How about the Meet And Greet? Nope. That's only interesting if you participated. It was fun meeting people from wildly divergent library backgrounds, many of them attending the PNLA side of the conference.

The Registration Table? Again, not much beyond the satisfaction of welcoming attendees and making sure they had everything they needed. However, there was one thing...some of us had ribbons attached to our badges, identifying us as volunteers, IG Chairs, speakers, and etc. The volunteers could have an additional ribbon, our choice, and some of those choices were really funny, like "I Read Your Email", "Plays Well With Others", "Runs With Scissors", and so on. My ribbon was "My Ribbon Is Better than Yours." There was rampant Ribbon Envy - a lot of us wanted "Plays Well With Others" but that one ran out quickly. The leftover ribbon that nobody wanted: "Go Green."

The Authors? Oh my, yes.

Robert Sawyer, the keynote speaker, was so thought-provoking (I took notes, at a breakfast!) that I must now read one of his books. I read a lot of sci-fi back in the 1970s and have read almost nothing in that genre since then (a Robert Sawyer book will be a good dip in the sci-fi pool.) He spoke about the need for libraries to embrace societal changes, to find the areas that make us relevant, suggesting that our most important relevancy will involve being a community space for people. That was a key topic showing up in three different sessions I attended; it reminded me of all that KRL brainstorming about becoming the "heart of the community." (Offering table dances was one of the suggestions.)

Mr. Sawyer also pointed out that Mr. Spock, Science Officer, was the U.S.S. Enterprise's reference librarian. This was big news to all of us and he's right. Whenever Captain Kirk needed to know something, who did he turn to? Spock, who immediately went to his computer, accessed his electronic databases, and always, always, found the correct information. The Reference Desk will never be quite the same old desk for me.

Karen Cushman spoke at the CAYAS breakfast. I've loved her books ever since Cheryl, my first Branch Manager, handed Catherine, Called Birdy to me and said "You will love this book." It's a book I recommend to adults who are looking for a nice, no-surprises (i.e. sex, language) story. I forced our book group to read it and they loved it as much as I do.

Anyway.

Ms. Cushman told us her story, the wandering path that she took to becoming an author, and what a path it was! She spoke of (among many things) the influence that books and her neighborhood library had in her childhood, throughout her schooling, and as an adult. What a engaging and humorous speaker! Her voice is there, in her books. I must reread Catherine soon.

Clyde Ford was our final speaker, sharing his thoughts at the Friday evening banquet. Again, here's an author whose books I need to explore. That happens nearly every time I'm present at an author talk. The books become infused with the personal experience of hearing the author. Mr. Ford writes mysteries set in the San Juans, another plus. There's nothing like reading about an incident in a book and knowing, seeing in my mind's eye, exactly where that place is.

Authors, in person. One of the many good things a conference offers.

Overheard on Twitter: Wedgies. You can expect them. But somehow, you are never fully prepared.

Next time: other conference stuff, possibly, but probably not. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Thaydra said...

Table dances, and Mr. Spock. Sounds like quite the conference!! =)