Archive for the ALA Category

I Won an iPod!

Posted in ALA, rambling on 26 July 07 by mikevc

I evidently signed up to win an iPod when I was at ALA last month.  Last friday, I was sent a brand new silver Nano from a vendor I had spoken with at the conference.  And, I am glad to be back with iPod.  Though I have tried virtually every other brand of DAP out there, there just isn’t one that can compare to iPod in terms of quality, durability, and ease of use.  Even though there are definite drawbacks, I think I am an iPod man again.

Also, a week or so ago, I headed out to west Houston for a doctor’s appointment and got stuck in flooding and a massive downpour.  I pulled into Memorial City mall to wait the thing out.  While there I played with the iPhone.  I was beyond impressed: I’ll spare you a detailed analysis but the hype appears to be well founded.

ALA: An Opinionated, Biased, Subjective Rundown from One of Thousands

Posted in ALA on 27 June 07 by mikevc

dc-site_02.gifThis is a quick and highly opinionated run down of ALA (and our weekend in D.C.):

Best Booth: Harper Collins – They had multiple copies of several books for free, gave free copies of new books by authors there to sign, and, on the last day, allowed everyone in line to take two free display books (I got two I was planning to buy; saved me over fifty bucks). There were a lot of others in the running.

Lamest Booth: Google – In order to get anything, you had to do a scavenger hunt, which I will grant showed some of their new features. But the reward for this was unbelievably lame: a microscopic lapel pin. Come on, Google, you can do better than that! I’m not even going to link to your site. Ha, let’s see how that impacts your business.

Best Tote Bag Giveaway: Demco and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (tie)

Best Program: “Diplomacy 101: Dealing with Difficult Customers” – I have a limited sample (attended 11) but this was the best, most practical program and had loads of info I will take back. Also inspired me to buy the presenter’s book.

Best Author Reading/Lecture: Steve Almond and Ken Burns (tie) – Again, I had a limited number of these to choose from but enjoyed these two highly.

Best Book Signing Session: Bill Bradley – Even though I missed his auditorium session, I did get a book signed. I did not have enough for his new book, The New American Story (they only took cash), on the day he was signing, so I got a copy of Life on the Run for ten bucks and had him sign it. I was able to return the next day with cash in hand and by a signed copy of his new book.

Biggest Problem: Lack of Seating – In more than half of the programs I went to, I ended up sitting on the floor. In half of the others, other people had to sit on the floor. For those counting, that is 75% of programs where there were not enough seats (again from my limited sample of ten or so programs).

Best Deal: Exhibit Pass – I got one of these for my wife for only $25 for the whole convention. She came away with as much swag-or more-as I did and gifts aplenty for friends and family.

Worst Deal: Six Dollar Curly Fries at the convention center. Update: I just looked at the receipt: they were $6.50.

Best Free Service for Attendees: Shuttles to Hotels – Though I did a lot of walking, I did take advantage of this one or two times during the conference. I forgot how tiring a full day of activities can be. Thanks, Thomson Gale!

Best Meals: Since this is such an important issue, I had to break it up into three sub-categories.

  • Breakfast: The Corner Bakery (another chain, I know; at least this is not in Houston) had fantastic breakfast paninis; I stopped for breakfast every morning.
  • Lunch: Lei Garden – This was a dim sum restaurant in Chinatown a few blocks form the convention center. Downstairs is a Chinese seafood restaurant. Letitia and I went at lunch and it was empty and didn’t look promising. As we turned to go, we saw a sign pointing up the stairs for dim sum. Up we went to a different scene, every seat was full and for good reason. This is a great lunch spot with attentive and fast service and fantastic and authentic (I think) dim sum. If you’re in DC, make an effort to find it at lunchtime.
  • Dinner: Bombay Palace I know this should be some D.C. only eatery and not a chain restaurant we could eat at at home. But, in Houston, we always go out to eat with the kids and on this trip we were alone for a few nights. We hiked to BP to get Indian food and it was wonderful. I forgot how much I love Indian food.

Best Movie Watched in Hotel When We Should Have Been Sleeping: Shaun of the Dead

Worst Movie Watched in Hotel When We Should Have Been Sleeping: Hitch

Overall, I had a great time, learned a lot, and was reminded yet again of why I am proud to be a librarian. I cannot wait for Anaheim next year. What I am really looking forward to is attending my first PLA (Public Library Association) conference in Minneapolis in 2008.


Posted in ALA, library stuff on 25 June 07 by mikevc

I am having a great time at ALA.  Besides attending some excellent programs (I have  a lot to bring back from the “Dealing with Difficult Customers” and staffing programs), the exhibition hall has been pure heaven.  I got Letitia an exhibits only pass.  Between the two of us, we have accumulated easily fifty books-some for family, some for friends, and some for us.  The long and short of it is that I will not have to buy a book for months.  I had to trudge to the USPS to ship two huge boxes of books back to Houston early this morning.  And, I still have two more days of exhibit crawling.  Highlights: Steve Almond’s reading, meeting Bill Bradley, Ken Burns auditorium presentation, and lots of free and cheap books and other cool stuff.   Lots of fun!

When I have more time, I will post at greater length on some interesting sessions on blogs and the use of social networks in libraries.