So I’m back from the whirlwind trip known as the ALA Midwinter Meeting. I saw colleagues, friends, former colleagues, met new people and attended a hell of a lot of meetings. The Midwinter Meeting is the business meeting for the organization. In other words, it’s lots of committee work, no “program” type sessions, and an intense couple of days with lots of work done. And don’t forget the social activities after a full day of meetings. But I survived. As did my feet and my clothing (despite my agonizing packing decisions). I now need a detox from all the coffee I drank to stay awake and keep myself up and running around.
My roommate this time was my bestest friend from college (I swore her to secrecy before we arrived, so no damaging stories could be told). She’s a library student right now, and still figuring out what she kind of librarian she wants to be (librarianship is a diverse profession with lots of options). Now, my committee got a lot done this meeting. Much more than last year (of course, the exec committee gave us more this year, too). But our success pales in comparison to my friend’s success at this conference. She contributed to (not just attended and observed) committee meetings, met someone that she will most likely and hopefully be an intern for in the near future (which is invaluable experience for a student, FYI), made loads of professional connections, and will most likely be contributing to a student blogging project for a major publication in our field. And all in two days. Wow. I remember sitting in on a few committee meetings when I was just getting started in my field. Once they asked me my opinion and I was practically paralyzed with fear that I’d say the wrong thing or just end up sounding stupid. My friend actually presented to the big group what her little group talked about. And did it with grace. More power to her!
My meetings, both committee and informative, all dealt with change. There’s lots going on in the library world of cataloging right now. I could get into the minutiae of changes to serials/continuing resources cataloging rules, and the way our current general cataloging rules are evolving and undergoing a major revision, but I’m not sure I could effectively explain it. I don’t understand it all myself (few of us do). Suffice to say, sessions on those changes took up most of my time. I know it’s hard to imagine, but librarians do get very passionate about things, just attend a few committee meetings to watch the drama unfold. But the best thing is we can debate for hours over a detail, yet still go out for dinner later and enjoy each other’s company.
Anyway, I didn’t get much sleep, but that’s ok, I never do, because I’m happy to sacrifice sleep to spend some time with my friends after all the meetings. We had our share of personal drama (when you don’t get together much because you live in separate cities, months worth of interactions happen in a few short hours when you are together), but I wouldn’t trade it for the world since for me, talking face to face beats text messages, chat, e-mail and even the phone any day of the week. It was so good to see everyone and re-establish connections. I even had the opportunity to have lunch with the man who is the reason I’m a librarian and someone I consider my mentor. He goes a long way to show what it means to be a librarian outside the stereotypes and still be very passionate about your field and libraries in general. It was 3 hours very well spent and I’m very grateful we had the chance to get together and talk.
Now I just have to remember what exactly I was working on before I left. After I clean out the over 200 listserv messages sitting in my inbox. But first, I think I’ll get a cup of coffee, as I’m exhausted both mentally and physically from the ALA Midwinter Meeting and everything that comes with it. My coffee detox can wait for the weekend.