There are things to love about an ALA Conference, and things to, well, not love quite so much.
- Love that the hotels had free wifi for conference attendees, but hate that it wasn’t promoted beforehand (had to convince someone this morning that yes, I’d seen tweets about it so she could argue with her hotel – one day before she leaves)
- Love that ALA made discount arrangements with Go Express, hate that I didn’t hear about it until after I made arrangements (where’s the Welcome to Conference e-mail with all that good information? this year’s e-mail was sparse!)
- Love that Chicago is so walkable, that the shuttle service works so well, but hate that last night there were no cabs out of the convention center (huh?!)
- Love all the sessions, but hate that so many good ones are cross-scheduled. Also really hate the ones that claim to be for everyone, but are only geared to the LCD in the audience (where’s the stuff for those of us mid- or late-career?)
- Love that 99% of sessions were at the convention center but hate hate hate the really bad signage. C’mon ALA – no signs in the main convention space leading to Hall A meeting rooms? Surely librarians can do better than this.
- Love (and so grateful for) the publishers and vendors giving us previews of programs, books, etc., but hate the logjam that is Publishers Row on the exhibit floor. Maybe separate them or move them so there’s more space in the aisle?
- Love the “app” for navigating ALA, but hate that it’s wifi dependent and that you can’t e-mail sessions to people.
- Love the options, hate the guilt about choosing self-care (aka midday nap or sleeping in) over three-four days of 7am-11pm rushing around.
And a perennial hate: registration. We’re told to bring photo id – but no one looks at it. We’re told we must (MUST!) use the badge holders they provide, when many of us are using sustainable reusable ones that include pockets/pen holders. We’re handed a big, thick booklet, 90% of which end up ripped up and tossed before the attendee leaves the registration area! I’ll bet if they printed a separate map/schedule list and then the Big Thick session description part, people would choose the former.
What happened to going green, ALA?
Thoughts on sessions and summer reading when I get home and have digested.