And, lo, it rained librarians and authors and books for forty days and forty nights. Well, actually only three days, but yoiks! It sure seemed like a biblical flood of books and book-related paraphernalia.
In January 2009, I went to my first American Library Association’s MidWinter Meeting because it was held in Denver. I had my camera with me, but I was too bedazzled to take photos. Plus, I would have needed to be on the International Space Station to get it all in the frame. I don’t think my day-pass would have allowed that.
I was an ALA virgin, but proud to say I figured out fairly quickly how to blend in—GRAB FREE BOOKS!!! Humiliation at my unbridled avarice didn’t stop me from acting like the biggest glutton at the buffet. After filling a couple of tote bags, I had to undo the top button on my pants.
For those of you who don’t know, ARCs are Advance Reading Copies of soon-to-be or recently released books. They’re given away to people who will read them, then create buzz about them before they’re released into the biblioworld.
Something I found fascinating at the ALA … aside from the $10 chicken strips and the sharp elbows of prim librarians … was seeing the booths of the companies trying to sell librarians stuff for their libraries. It’s a huge trade show as well as a meeting for librarians, so there were folks there selling shelving, very cool chairs, and tons of software for libraries. I am a big fan of libraries, having visited many in my lifetime, but have I ever considered how they acquire things like that? Why no, no I had not. Until then.
Recently I found myself at a high school library. My, how things had changed! They had cozy ultra-modern looking chairs for snuggling into, but also some nifty chairs around tables. You know how kids are always tipping their chairs back, often falling over backward in them? These seemed to be a happy marriage of allowing for some tipping, but with thingamabobs to stop the chair from going all the way over. I suspect with this purchase, the school librarian became infinitely less flinchy.
Now that my library mindosity had expanded, I vow to visit the comfy chairs at every library. Every. Single. Library. But only after I quiz the staff about their spine label printers, their staff and desk scheduling tools, which database they use for primary source materials from 18th and 19th century publications, and how many people have gone head over tea kettle in their chairs.
Besides the materials you check out, what’s your favorite thing about the library?