ALA Wrap-up

Yes, I’ve been back for a while. I’m slow. I had a rough trip 🙂 Enjoy!


Made it to the airport – 30 minutes early. Mom showed up at my house at 9:45 instead of 10. So I was at the airport by like 10:15. Our flight left at 12:55. I was okay with being there at like 10:30. Oh well….she also nearly panicked me when she asked if my suitcase was too big. She said the guidelines had changed and that I might have to pay extra. And that I would have a lot of fun with it on the subway. So I shrugged and wrestled it to the car. And the airline gave me no trouble about it. Neither did I have trouble on the subway. But my first rule of packing is “never pack more than you can carry by yourself”. Second rule – be prepared 🙂

Arrived at the hotel, unpacked, showered quickly, changed clothes and headed back out for dinner with fellow LSW people. We were at Irish Channel Pub, located in a Red Roof Inn in Chinatown. Which really threw us off trying to get there, but that’s okay. It was tasty and the company was excellent as well 🙂 It’s nice to put faces with names and screen names.


Day one of the conference! My roommate/coworker and I slept in (til 9) because she didn’t have any sessions and mine didn’t start until 1pm. After a brief panic about my registration, I went to the conference center and discovered that I did, in fact, register in advance. So I got my badge and pile o’ stuff and hopped on the internet at the convention center. Which, so far, is the only place that has free wireless access. The Hilton Washington, our hotel, requires you to pay $12.95 per day for high speed access (not wireless). If you go to the lobby, wireless is $5.95 for 4 hours.

My preconference session about becoming/being an electronic resources librarian was good. The presenter, Anjana Bhatt, was at the ER&L conference in Atlanta in February, and is a very enjoyable and capable presenter. There was no free wireless in the session either – it was $3.95 for 15 minutes in that hotel.

After the preconference, I popped into the NMRT Meet and Greet and met a couple more online people. And had a couple glasses of wine – which, on an empty stomach, was not such a great idea. Went out to dinner with LSW/random people from NMRT and squeezed 6 people in a Neon. Which was interesting 🙂 I was one of the smallest, so I got to lay across the back seat. That provided a very interesting way of seeing DC. Got back to the hotel at midnight, which was also not a good idea, since I had to be at breakfast very early Saturday morning.


Saturday – early morning breakfast sponsored by SerialsSolutions. Very informative, especially about new products coming from them. Then on to the exhibit opening, and mucho swag. I shipped two boxes of stuff home, and now I’m very glad I did!

After gathering and shipping swag, it was off to the LITA BIGWIG (link) (Un)conference session. I got to meet several of the people on my Twitter list, as well as live Tweet and Meebo Room (thanks to a sneaky open wireless connection available in the room)

Then it was back to the hotel room to rest my aching arms and shower before the ProQuest/CSA Scholarship Event. It was not a Bash as per usual, but an event. There was a cash bar and entertainment. Mark Russell and the Capitol Steps were both very funny and I would highly recommend seeing them if you can. I think a few people were insulted, since it was political humor, but most people seemed to really enjoy it.


Sunday started off with the LAMA BES session about interior designers. It was pretty good, but it probably will not be terribly useful until we are actually starting our building project. Which will probably be a few years, at least.

Then it was off to Harnessing the Hive, the RUSA MARS program. It was very interesting, with Meredith Farkas, Tim Spalding and Matthew M Bejune presenting. One notable comment from the audience – “Until I know who that person is, I’m not participating” – said in reference to knowing/not knowing who the person really is recommending you books in LibraryThing. There are lots of neat things that are coming from LibraryThing as well. Wikis in libraries are good things, and that was the main focus of Meredith and Matthew M Bejune.

After lunch, it was time for the LITA Top Technology Trends panel, which is available as a podcast HERE. (Yay Griffey!!) Again, a very informative panel discussion, with questions from the audience. Much discussion of ILS and privacy issue as well as other things. To see the TTT from the various people on the committee, go to the LITAblog.

Fortunately, the TTT ended in time for me to attend the Book Cart Drill Team Championships. YouTube videos available. It was very cool to see the teams ‘dancing’ with their bookcarts. The costumes were great, as were the routines. Mo Willems and the other children’s author were the color announcers and they were hilarious as well.

After the Drill Team Championships, back to the hotel to prep for the NMRT Social, with a quick stop at the student reception.

The NMRT Social was fabulous! Drinking, dancing, prizes! (I won! Yay! But still no sign of my box….booo!)

Dancing with Library Ninja, Tapley, Akeisha, Holly, Genny, Dawn, Karin Dalziel, Akeisha and Holly’s friend Odile, and a couple random guys. Tons of fun….hits from the 70s 80s 90s and today! Stayin’ Alive, Play that Funky Music, SexyBack, Fergilicious, etc….

I danced way too much and stayed out too late, but I ain’t never had too much fun 🙂

Since we stayed out until somewhere around 1am, I skipped the first session I had planned on Monday morning.


First session was actually another vendor presentation by SerialsSolutions. It was also informative and interesting. Then it was time for lunch with my friend Xan, who I met at another conference in Atlanta earlier this year.

Then, off to another LAMA BES session, this one on learning commons. The very first speaker of their panel was excellent and very forward looking about technology and things. The rest of them were not so great, ending with a presentation of survey results, which I hate.

Elizabeth Edwards cancelled due to illness (I think), so I popped back in to the exhibit hall for a bit before going to dinner with our ProQuest rep. We had dinner at Vidalia and it was fabulous. I had the lamb, with the raspberry hazelnut torte for dessert. It was a nice dinner, with nice people from FL and MS.


End of the conference – I went to see Garrison Keillor and wound up sitting outside the room, of course, since it was packec. He was funny and his usual self, which was very enjoyable. Then it was time to staff the NMRT booth for a couple hours.

After that, my roommate and I went shopping in Virginia at Tyson’s Corner Center, which was an adventure on public transportation. Public transportation around DC is actually very good. We took the train, then the bus, and had nearly no problems (just some minor confusion on our part)


Time to start the trek home! We checked out, put our luggage with the bellhop for lunch and ate a nice, leisurely lunch at Cosi. The nit was back up the hill to the hotel and back down the hill with 56 lbs of luggage behind me 🙂 We made it onto the metro and to Reagan with no problem. Flight was delayed about an hour from Reagan, but we made it to LGA with no problems. Once we got to LGA, however, our flight was first delayed about an hour, then 3 hours, then cancelled completely. Due to a massive lightning storm in the NYC area, most of the flights out were cancelled, leaving us to find a new flight and a hotel room for the night. I finally sucked it up and purchased wireless internet access, which allowed us to find the Flushing International Hotel. A very seedy little place about 2 miles from the airport, but after calling about 20 hotels, we took it. We slept, fitfully, for a few hours, then got up and showered and headed back to the airport.


Arrived at LGA at 9am to discover more chaos. We waited in line for about 2.5 hours before getting our boarding passes. My coworker was confirmed on the 12:25 flight, and made her flight, putting her back in Nashville only one day late. I was booked on the 7:25 flight (again) and was cancelled again. I called Holly, who I had just met in RL at ALA and she let me crash on her couch. Her two cats are really cute and very friendly. She and her husband deserve major kudos for letting me disrupt their evening completely.

I got rebooked on an American flight for Saturday, but JetBlue had a flight open Friday night, so I went for that one.


Day three of trying to get home. I was able to check in as standby on the 2:45 JetBlue flight from JFK, and was listed as the second person in line. JetBlue rocks – not only do they have wireless at the gates, it’s free! Plus, DirectTV on the flights themselves. So after I made it onto the 2:45 flight, I was able to watch the Food Network all the way back to Nashville. I touched down in Nashville at 4:17pm CST. Approximately 54 hours after checking out of the hotel in Washington, DC.


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