When good things go bad
Posted by lpearle on 3 October 2005
Two good things in my life have gone bad recently, and I’m gonna blog about ’em.
THING ONE: The New York is Book Country Fair. I started attending the fair years ago, in the mid ’80s. Over the years I’ve gotten great books, and it was a Fall “thing to look forward to” for me and friends. But then, sometime in the late ’90s, it changed. Like so much of life, it became corporate and the unique feel of the fair changed. The selections weren’t as good, favorite sellers didn’t show up, and the crowds lessened. Two years ago was the last fair that closed down Fifth Avenue (from 57th to 42nd Street); last year it was held in Washington Square Park. This year – nada. It finished.
So, in a sense, I shouldn’t have been disappointed when I went to the “replacement”, the New York Times’ Great Read in Bryant Park. Yes, tons of authors were there talking about their works and signing copies. And yes, Barnes & Noble was there with a store. And yes, there was a way to buy “gently used, greatly loved” books. But the feel was wrong. It wasn’t a book fair, it was a celebration of the NYTimes Book Review, which in itself isn’t a bad thing. But as a book fair, as a replacement, it left much to be desired.
THING TWO: Every year for the past eight years I’ve gone to the NYSAIS Conference for Managers of Information Technology at Mohonk Mountain House. This has been a good thing for several reasons: an opportunity to get out of Manhattan, a great way to network with people in my situation (working in an independent school in New York State), and there was always a good “take away” from the sessions. Until this year, that is.
The offerings this year are bad. I don’t know where the librarians on the planning committee were, but it wasn’t in the meetings! None of the sessions are being led by a librarian. The one session I might consider is being led by someone I find professionally lacking in insight and whose “published” work I find appalling (this person doesn’t get “it”, yet believes she does… and what she writes is so poorly written/edited that it hurts to read, not to mention the fact that she uses professional space to talk about personal things). The keynotes are either repeating stuff I’ve already heard (who in this field hasn’t heard Alan November by now?) or stuff I know and don’t need to hear from yet another source. Yes, I could go and network. But I’m already out of NYC and I’d rather be more responsible with my school’s professional development money.
So, two good things gone bad. In my depressed, “the dark is rising” state, all I can do is ask, “What’s going to be next?”