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Chicago: American Library Association – Midwinter Meeting – ALA

Winter is for curling up by the fire with a good book, and the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting was all for that, we found.  The ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference are the premier global library events each year, they told us, bringing together newsmakers, innovators, thought leaders, and influencers in the library field from all over the world. Important announcements were made, updates were shared, relevant legislation and policy were addressed, and discussions took place with a major impact on libraries, their role, and their ongoing transformation.  The show provided a dedicated area (the Networking Uncommons space) where delegates could gather in small groups to have a quick meeting, hold impromptu sessions, polish up a presentation, or just recharge batteries. There was even a “Fun With Dick and Jane” session, looking at the works of …wait for it …Jane Austen and Bladerunner’s futuristic creator, Philip K. Dick.  (Dick and Jane, geddit?)   #alamw15

Las Vegas: American Library Association Annual Conference

Las Vegas: American Library Association Annual Conference

ALA is the American Library Association, and its annual conference in Vegas covered key issues such as innovation and transformation, ebook lending and usability, digital content, community engagement, leadership, the impact and potential of new technologies, books and awards, copyright, outreach, privacy, services for makers, library advocacy, core values, career development, teaching and learning, and best practices on a range of library-related concerns.  Phew!  That’s already pretty much a library-full of topics right there.  Actor, producer and country songster Jeff Bridges shared a slot with twice-over Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry at the ALA President’s Program, and stand-up comic, writer and TV star B.J. Novak had something to say at the Closing General Session.  Oh, you wanted ACTIVITIES?  They we would have seen you at the Think-Fit “Power Flow” yoga class.  Okay, everyone, lotus position….


Chicago: American Library Association – ALA

June 29 – July 2, 2013. ALA is the American Library Association, and the show was all about “transforming our libraries, transforming ourselves”.  This turned out to involve ALA conference programs, updates, conversations and other events covering key issues, such as digital content and e-books, technology in libraries, innovation, books, leadership, library advocacy, community engagement, and library marketing.  Janis Ian was there to say that “Libraries and librarians saved my life, and I would not be the person, or writer, I am without them.”  Ian, who started playing the piano at age two and is now in her fifth decade of writing songs, poetry and prose and performing, recently beat out President Bill Clinton, Rachel  Maddow and Ellen DeGeneres for the 2013 Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for her audiobook “Society’s Child.” She thinks artists are “the last Alchemists, pulling your dreams, your hopes, your deepest desires out of thin air, and turning them into something you can hear, and play, and sing.”   Maybe ALA really means Artistic Lady Alchemists…

Anaheim: American Library Association

June 21-26, 2012. ALA is the American Library Association.  This meet claims to be the world’s largest event for the library community, bringing together more than 25,000 librarians, educators, authors, publishers, literacy experts, illustrators and the leading suppliers to the market.  The ALA Annual Conference gave visitors an opportunity to advance careers and improve libraries.  Best-selling author John Irving (“The World According to Garp”) introduced the ALA Annual Conference attendees to his thirteenth and latest novel, “In One Person”, published in May 2012. The novel is described as his most political since “The Cider House Rules” and “A Prayer for Owen Meany”, offering a moving portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man dedicated to making himself “worthwhile.”  Bet you didn’t know that Irving competed as a wrestler for 20 years, coached the sport until he was 47, and was inducted in 1992 into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame?  So better don’t antagonize this guy…

Ottawa: Canadian Library Association

June 1-3, 2012. CLA stands for “Association Canadienne de Bibliotheques” — obviously.  I mean, duh…!  Whaddya mean, that would make it “ACB”?  Can’t you understand perfectly simple French?  Oh, you’re one of those out-of-towners who doesn’t get that, here in French-speaking Canada, everything has to be bi-lingual French and English?  Okay, okay, for you hopeless monoglots, let’s admit that CLA also stands for the Canadian Library Association. How did the meet go?  After kicking off with the Advocacy Boot Camp, 60 members were divided into 18 teams, and fanned out over the Hill for meetings with 63 MPs, Senators, and key Hill staff.  CLA members highlighted issues like copyright legislation and library book rate.  What’s French for copyright?  You’re in a library, mon cher ami: loooook iiiiit uuuuup…!

Philadelphia: PLA 12

Mar. 13-17, 2012. PLA is the Public Libraries Association.  More than 8,700 library staff, supporters, exhibitors, authors and others from across the country attended the PLA 2012 Conference in Philadelphia to discuss various issues that impact U.S. public libraries and their users. Intriguingly, this show launched a thing they called the Unconference—a participant-driven, organic approach to conference programming, with education and networking all wrapped into one. It was a chance to offer ideas, lead a discussion, and network with other attendees interested in common issues related to books and libraries. There were author lunches with the likes of Joyce Carol Oates, David Balducci and Ally Carter.  But you had to “book”…..