Monday, January 10, 2011

ALA Midwinter

Some of the library staff is away at the annual ALA (American Library Association) Midwinter Conference in San Diego today. Whenever an ALA conference is held in Southern California, we try to take advantage of it.

Are you wondering what a library conference could be like? Well, it’s not Comic-Con (Comic-Book-turned-pop-culture convention held at the San Diego Convention Center every summer) but it’s also not a sterile warehouse of books with serious bun-headed ladies standing around in comfortable shoes evaluating book jackets through quirky reading glasses.
The American Library Association (ALA) is the voice of America’s libraries. Generally held in January, the ALA Midwinter Meeting draws more than 10,000 leaders in the library and information industry for some 2,000 meetings and events. About 750 exhibits feature the latest in books, videos, computers and other materials and resources available to millions of library users. - ALA Web Site

The stated mission of the ALA is, "To provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all." (ALA) This is a tall order. It requires much more than reading the latest novels. In fact, it doesn't require the reading of novels at all.

If we're going to achieve our mission to "serve the information and research needs of the Hope International University community," we're going to have to keep up with the ever changing ways that information resources are being "published" or made available and how to appropriately provide access to them.

These conferences provide opportunities for librarians to learn about the latest best practices, network with colleagues, and touch bases with experts in the field of library and information science. It is also a time to meet with publishers, authors, and vendors of myriad of library products and services in the exhibit hall.

I’m not going to lie. We’re also excited to get free pens, sticky notes, galley proofs, and maybe even an autograph or two!

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