Hooray Hooray the ALA

Oh that wacky American Library Association convention. Imagine, if you will, 50 billion librarians wandering around downtown Toronto. Yes, it looked like that.

I did a bit of shopping on Sunday afternoon, and had the honor of being informed by a salesgirl that a librarian had appeared on TLC’s A Makeover Story and had been brought to that very store. “See” she implied, “it’s not too late for you!”

On a similar “weird public image of librarianship” line, I had more trouble with the ALA vendors than usual. Since I’m no longer a student, I had to contend with eager sales representatives trying to sell me their wares. I found myself regularly explaining that SOME librarians don’t actually work with books, deal with the public, or care much about the latest installment in the Harry Potter series. Once I made the mistake of mentioning the words “digital preservation research” and was treated to a sales pitch for a music journal.

I did get a chance to see a copy of Revolting Librarians Redux this weekend, and I would like to encourage everyone to buy the heck out of it. Among other things, the book contains a poem that I hadn’t read since I submitted it. I was pleased to see that it didn’t suck quite as badly as I had feared.

News Flash: A woman just walked by my library office window practicing sign language to herself. People often walk by my office and don’t realize they are being observed. Unfortunately, this works both ways, and I’ve often been caught chewing my fingernails by a casual passerby.

ALA in Toronto 2003

The library has been empty and echoing today since so many of the staff have boarded the bus for the American Library Association conference. Tomorrow, I too will be leaving for the land of free tote bags and low-key cultural revolution.

I say fie on SARS, and will support lovely Toronto in her hour of need. If anyone wants to catch a quick dance, I’ll be at the Social Responsibilities Round Table Boogie Down event Sunday night, whoopin’ it up with the Cuban librarians.

Spring! Drunken Students!

Flowers and Fishnets my dearies, spring has come to my Eastern College Town, and the windows of the library have been covered with plywood to protect them from the ravages of Drunken Students! Having done my undergraduate degree in a school where Drunken Students have the regular habit of burning police cars and smashing shop windows, I’m not entirely surprised.

Here at Cornell, there is some annual “let’s all get schnokered and come throw up on the reference desk” type event coming up here on Friday. I’ll be your entrenched reporter, with my ringside office window.

Revolting Librarians Redux

The section of the library dedicated to books on librarianship is located outside my office door. I thumbed through a few of them this morning. I was curious what a book on librarianship looked like, since I never really saw that many at “library school”.

Most were from the 70s and 80s, and were dedicated to some pretty abstract stuff, but nestled among the monographs on school librarianship, I found the 1972 classic Revolting Librarians. I’m amazed by the number of librarians and libraryworkers who aren’t familiar with what is the most radical, most groundbreaking, and most hilarious book ever written on the subject of librarianship. Fortunately, it’s in the public domain (because librarians rule), and also fortunately, there’s a sequel due out this fall, edited by the indelible Katia Roberto and Jessamyn West.

I contributed a piece of doggerel whose rhyme scheme should make English majors wince worldwide. Hopefully my library will buy the thing so I can walk by it in the stacks every day and feel all smug.

Holi and Hanging Chads

I am covered from fur to fingernails in colored dye-powder because it is the Hindu festival of Holi. My friend Clay & I partook of the cultural wackiness this afternoon on the Ivy League University (TM) campus. Colored dye-powder, I have discovered, does wonders for fine, bodiless hair. I looked rather styled-up by the time we were all done tossing the stuff at each other. Must remember this for my next formal occasion. Girls! Got limp lifeless hair? Get a nice South Asian gentleman to bean you with a handful of Yellow #5!

The nice thing about no longer being in school, by the way, is I’ve occasionally been having moments where I DON’T think about libraries or Library Issues.

Hm. Speaking of Library Issues, I’m taking issue with the fact that it takes about fifteen times longer to vote for the ALA council than it did to vote in the last Presidential election. Wouldn’t you think the ALA might consider alphabetizing their lengthy list of candidates? Alphabetization is what we’re known for, after all. But hey, what problems could a confusing and awkward ballot cause?