Several years ago, there was an amusing video making the rounds (well, it was amusing to librarians anyway), that was a parody of the then popular film March of the Penguins. It was a light-hearted look at a twice-yearly librarian ritual – the American Library Association (or ALA) conferences. Yes, twice a year, librarians from all over the US and Canada (and elsewhere) gather in some city or another to network and learn what’s new in the profession.
You thought librarians never left the library, didn’t you? Well, we’ve been gathering twice a year for many years now. And these outings give us a chance, not only to sample great local cuisine, collect swag, and do some awesome shopping, but also to keep up to date with what has become a rapidly changing and evolving profession. What do we do in 4 days in Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco or New Orleans?
- Meet with library vendors to see and try out new technology.
- Peruse publishers’ new books. Meet authors and hear their readings.
- Attend discussions and demos of technology and trends in the profession.
- Meet with our colleagues from around the country.
- Interview for jobs. Yes, there are jobs for librarians! Good to keep in mind during these times of job shortages for new graduates, when alt-ac has become more than a buzzword.
The upcoming midwinter conference (January 24-28) is in Philadelphia, and several members of the library staff will be in attendance. We’ll look forward to the new ideas they’ll bring back with them!