Monday, June 25, 2012

My View From the ALA Expo Floor - Part 1

It has been a few years since I graduated. Life and the general economic situation has lead me to unexpected paths away from brick and mortar libraries. I stay connected by dipping into the cyber equivalents.

I thought going to see the exhibits at the conference was a good way for me to re-connect. I have to say that I felt like an interloper.  Maybe I was, I'm not a librarian.

Which is the number one question I got when I stepped up to a table. "What library are your from?" "Who do you represent?" "Are You A Librarian?"

Totally understandable.

It would have been misleading to add the school library to my badge. I'm not a student any more. I don't work at a library. I can say that I have been applying what I have gained in the program to communicate and share information with various on-line communities that won't step foot in a physical library.

They should. They won't. I meet folks where they are.

But what about the other stakeholders in literacy, technology and freedom of information advocates? Should we not have come?

As I walked through the convention center (and it was huge) I had people flash a look at my badge. If it didn't display what they wanted to see they looked away, hoping I wouldn't walk over.

Why Would a Non-library Person come to ALA?

Beyond my personal reasons,  I could see what has changed and not changed since the last time I visited. Paper books are still important. There are vendors selling and librarians wanting audio CDs for their patrons. E-book vendors getting a bit more space on the floor.

A lot of things to think about and to share.

1 comment:

Evelyn said...

I know lots of people who attend the library conferences who are not librarians. One example is an elementary school principal who loves and promotes reading at the school she works at. I have to say my experience going to the library conferences even as a library assistant has been awkward sometimes especially with the vendors because I have no authority in those type of decision. It can be somewhat daunting having so many different vendors trying to sell their product to you which I experienced when I was running an elementary school library. So there's pros and cons either way, I think.

I think the exhibits area is really limiting for conference attendees who are not within the library field. Probably the best thing is the free pens and books. But I think if non-library folks attend conference, they should consider going for the conference itself. You'll get way more out of it overall. That's just my two cents though. :)