I realized as I sat down to write this(1) that ALA Annual is the third major national conference I have attended since the beginning of the year. This is a small number or minor for some, but it’s quite a bit for your resident hedgehog. Last year I only went to ALA and a one day trip to PLA.

I’m torn between overwhelmed, anxious and excited about going back to New Orleans. I went last time we were there, a trip salvaged mostly by the presence of a grad school friend. This time and two rounds of this later, while I feel incredibly unprepared, I know I’ll be able to swim(2) despite the feeling that I still need a good instruction manual.

I’m very excited to reconnect with friends I’ve not seen since last summer and especially pleased to meet the Warmaiden, Jenica, and MC for the first time. I’m rooming with Madame Storyteller again, we’re long overdue for stories of LPL.

This trip is a chance for me to partake in some of Andy Woodworth’s Big Tent Librarianship. ALA brings together a lot of smart and cool people who are doing really amazing things at their libraries. In general, I am far more motivated by programs that show what is or isn’t actually working than I am by people relying on hashtags or vague concepts of how I’m doing librarianship wrong by not slavishly following a certain trend.(3) I will have
the opportunity to see librarians of all shapes, sizes, and types, to share and learn from them. It shakes-or should-one out of only your every day type of library and find new and old friends with whom to coordinate and by whom to be inspired.

I expect my schedule to remain very fluid, mostly because I have no idea what is happening yet. I have a couple of mandatory meetings for LITA, I will be going to BattleDecks on Monday. I sincerely hope lunch and dinner plans involving beignets and fried chicken will appear. Other than that, I still have to map but I expect it to fill.

If you are at ALA please stop me and say hello. I will be the one wandering around always always always knitting a sock, probably wrapped in an incongruously heavy wool shawl. If you are collecting badge ribbons, tell me you read my blog and I’ll give you a special funny one I ordered. I only got 50 so find me early!

I fly in Thursday, the Trombone Player will be with Gypsy. Now I just need to get to the grocery to buy Parmesan Goldfish and to my stash to figure out what sock yarn to bring. See you in New Orleans!

(1) Typed this into Epistle on the way home from work. My respect for Neil Gaiman has increased even more when I think about how many blog posts he’s coherently written on a phone keyboard. I’m pretty fast with the text messages and I demanded a full QWERTY slider when upgrading to a smartphone (I have a Droid 2) but hamsters if it isn’t a much slower method. Someday I might just break down and buy a netbook-to the horror of my SysAdmin.
(2) Just not in the Mississippi
(3) A question I challenge you to ask speakers espousing broad and vague concepts-sometimes disguised as being super hot and trendy: “So…how are you personally applying this in your library?”