ALA Conference Recap

July 5th, 2010

The American Library Association’s annual conference was held in Washington, D.C. last weekend.  26,000 librarians from all over the country converged to discuss the pressing issues of libraries and information access.  This was the first time I had attended, and I was amazed at the scale and breadth of opportunities and challenges facing librarians today.

ala conference

There were numerous breakout sessions, panel discussions, and presentations there, including poster sessions.  In fact, out of 120 poster sessions offered at the conference, IU East was privileged to offer three of them.  I got to present the library’s action figure tour (on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IENKivi3pEg).  About a hundred people came by to look at the dolls and hear how and why we made it.  Some were even interested in trying a similar project at their own libraries!

matt at ala

I also got to look at a number of new or improved library technologies, from archival scanners to waterproof keyboards.  It’s a rapidly changing world!  Hopefully, we’ll be able to incorporate some of what we saw there in our own library.

ala scanner

Of course, the perennial big focus of the library world is defending the right to read and learn and freely express ourselves.  As I write this on Independence Day, I am reminded of the importance of our First Amendment, and the solemn duty librarians have to defend and implement this freedom.  Fortunately, we have tens of thousands of allies!