I’ve just about recovered from my travels to Anaheim. Hot sun, expensive taxis, no decent food within easy walking distance of the convention center…the perfect place to have a conference.
There was plenty going on, that’s for sure. The exhibits floor was jam packed with librarians who think proper aisle behavior is either standing still in the middle of the aisle or walking so slowly you want to punch them in the back of the head.
If you wanted free food or booze, there was plenty of that on hand if you knew where to look. Some of it was even good, which is better than being free.
Speaking of free stuff, there was also some silliness at ALA. You might be aware that publishers give away a lot of free books at ALA. As the conference wanes, they start handing out books willy-nilly to anyone who passes by, even if those folks are not (gasp!) really librarians. It’s a scandal!
Or at least some people think it’s such a scandal that they want ALA to make special rules to keep those people from hogging all the free books. A kind reader sent this link to a blog post by a librarian outraged that some non-librarians got a bunch of free advanced reading copies (or ARCs) that she wasn’t able to snag for herself.
She should have been the one getting those free books, because not only is she a librarian, but she’s a blogger. A blogger! And we know how important those people are!
All that rage towards a couple of women who managed to do what she wanted to do herself but couldn’t seems a bit petty, and the whole brouhaha is more bizarre when she could just ask publishers to send her ARCs, which she admits in the blog post. If there’s a point to this outrage, I don’t get it.
And if you want to read some meandering commentary, you can search Twitter for #ARCgate, where you will find the usual Twitter discussion – short on substance, long on self-expression.
Regardless of the fake controversy roiling the few people who care about this nonsense, somehow I doubt ALA is going to change how it charges for conferences because of a whiny blogger, but who knows. After all, the ALA Council has stopped taking politically motivated resolutions totally unrelated to libraries seriously, and that could be because of one whiny library blogger with a sense of entitlement.
For example, those crazy SRRT people are still trying to make the ALA Council into their political mouthpiece, even for topics that have nothing to do with libraries.
This time they had two different Wikileaks resolutions, even though the Council has voted down support for Wikileaks before. There was the “Resolution on Access to Information and Wikileaks,” plus the “Resolution in Support of Whistleblower Bradley Manning” just in case people didn’t want to support a resolution with Wikileaks in the title.
Someone should have told them that Wikileaks is soooo last year.
The first resolution is related to libraries because “the American Library Association has signed a joint letter with many other organizations asking the Unites States government to reverse its order to US government agencies blocking access to WikiLeaks,” which is totally different from supporting Wikileaks itself.
The Bradley Manning resolution is even stranger. Some of the rationale? “Whereas Daniel Ellsberg has compared the actions of which Manning is accused to the release of the Pentagon Papers….” So another case having nothing to do with libraries is somewhat comparable to this case. Well, when you put it that way, of course I understand.
Oh, and “the American Library Association has strongly supported the principle of government accountability and the protection of whistleblowers.” Everyone but politicians, government contractors, and lobbyists supports the principle of government accountability, so that doesn’t really mean much.
Regardless of the alleged ill treatment of Bradley Manning, it’s still not a library issue, and the ALA calling on the Army to release Manning and drop the charges against him would look silly.
There was a time not many years ago when this kind of nonsense was hotly debated by Council, with earnest librarians wasting the time of their fellow councilors talking for hours on end until the bedraggled councilors voted “yes” just to shut them up. Those were the pre-AL days.
These days? They were both voted down with hardly a discussion.
Another SRRT resolution on voter suppression did pass, though it’s odd that the ALA should oppose voter ID laws and yet libraries usually require ID and a proof of residence to get a library card. Everyone knows individual votes are worthless anyway, so why require an ID. Whereas not returning library books might get you thrown in jail.
Council saved the serious discussion for a resolution that “School Libraries and Librarians are Critical to Educational Success,” in which 200 librarians got up and spoke for 20 minutes each in favor of the resolution, or so it seemed at the time. Anyway, it passed. It won’t help school libraries much, but at least it has something to do with libraries.
There was probably more silliness at ALA, but I was too busy socializing and enjoying the free food and drink to notice.