Hi there, bookworms! Miss me? Yeah, I thought so. Have you been wondering where I’ve been? I bet you have. I’ll tell you (but it won’t be the truth):
As some of you know, I recently attended the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in our nation’s capital. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to stay for the week with Lord and Lady Contrarian. I was given a comfortable bed, allowed contact with feline and leporidae friends, and fed good food and Scotch. It was a wonderful stay, until the night of June 28th, which should have been my last in DC. I made the grave error of disagreeing with Lord Contrarian about certain policy-related issues, and he locked me in the closet. Fortunately, I had a nail file in my pocket, and, over the following weeks, I managed to file my teeth away, leaving only the central incisors. I now look and chew much like the common beaver. Here’s a picture of me upon my return:
(Note: that’s not me.)
Thankfully, I take good general care of my chompers, and was able to chew my way through the closet door to freedom.
I made it back to Maine about a week ago, and have been building up my strength ever since. This of course explains why I have been unable to post for some time. Please accept my apology, and let Casey know that he shouldn’t keep locking up his staff. Seriously, when was the last time anyone heard from Katherine Ehlers? I can’t say for sure what happened to her, but I can verify that there were multiple skeletons in Casey’s closet.
Even with said troubles, the conference was a positive experience, and I would look forward to attending again. I got to see library guru Stephen Abram speak, which was fantastic. He had recently given a talk in my neck of the woods, but I was unable to attend. When I heard from multiple Maine librarians that Mr. Abram spoke too quickly and gave too much information, I knew I had missed something good, so I made sure not to make the same mistake at the D.C. conference (hereafter referred to as ALA10).
Mr. Abram was funny, irreverent and knowledgeable. Sure, he stuck to surface information, but I still learned a fair amount. For example, did you know that YouTube has more than just videos of cats throwing up on babies? Why anyone would want to watch anything else is beyond me, but it’s still good to know there’s more out there (such as this great video of a kitten who refuses to give up his cake). Also, did you know that Google answers more questions in half an hour than all the librarians in the world do in 20 years? Which explains why we’re all freaking out about how the hell to convince people that our answers are better.
Surely enough people will read this post to make a difference here, right? So, once more for the benefit of humanity: LIBRARIANS GIVE BETTER ANSWERS THAN GOOGLE. Got it? Great!
The highlight of my ALA10 experience was undeniably Salman Rushdie‘s talk, especially when he answered a question about his well-known death sentence by saying he was fine but the Ayatollah is dead, so don’t mess with novelists. The next day, I saw Muslim author Irshad Manji co-chair a great talk about religious values versus intellectual freedom. Manji, as some may know, is the author of The Trouble With Islam Today, a book which earned her a death sentence of her own. I must congratulate the ALA on giving us the opportunity to see two speakers who have death sentences in a period of two days, all while only slightly fearing for my own life.
For better or worse, I did not manage to infiltrate the rumored wild underbelly of ALA10. I had hoped to return with sordid tales of kinky librarian parties, but decided to spend my evenings with Lord & Lady Contrarian, indulging in geek-speak and watching “Eastbound and Down.” Oh well, maybe next year…
I now must pause for the time being, so be good, dear readers, and watch out for paper cuts.