Category Archives: ALA

ALA Annual 2014 and Vegas Hotels

So I’ve had a ton of ALA types ask me about the hotel situation in Vegas for ALA Annual 2014, and I’ve been meaning to blog about it for awhile now…and then ALA goes and opens up registration. So for those looking for some insight into best bets for location and hotels for ALA Annual 2014 in Las Vegas, here’s my take on the subject.

First off, I’ll just say: I love Vegas. I would never live there, but I love going, visiting, staying there for a few days at a time. I’ve been going once or twice a year for nearly a decade now, for events and to see friends and I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of the lay of the land. So here is my take on Vegas 2014.

If you haven’t been to Vegas before, the main thing I need to emphasize is the size of it. It looks, on a map, as if the hotels are right next to each other. Even when you’re standing on the Strip itself, it can look like they are right there, easily walkable. The truth is that the scale is totally off, and your eyes are being fooled, and it can be a 10 minute walk just from the sidewalk to the front door of a hotel, much less from one hotel to the other. Some of the really enormous complexes can be miles and miles of walking, all inside the hotel.

This is complicated by the fact that the Convention Center isn’t anywhere near the Strip, it’s off Strip and WAY down at the end. So the hotels that are convenient to the Convention Center (the LVH, Courtyard Convention Center, Residence Inn Convention Center) will NOT be convenient to pretty much anything else in Vegas. The opposite end of the map (Ballys, Caesar’s Palace, Flamingo, Paris) are fine, mostly mid-Strip hotels, and Caesar’s is by far the nicest of that bunch, for my money, the place to stay for ALA Annual is either Harrah’s or The Quad.

Why? The secret of getting back and forth to the convention center is the Las Vegas Monorail, and Harrah’s and The Quad share a monorail stop. The Quad is brand-newly renovated, and was formerly Imperial Palace…under that name, it was not really well taken care of. But the recent renovations look to have improved the place. You can go out the back of the hotel, and be on the monorail and at the convention center in 10 minutes, when just walking inside Caesar’s Palace could take you that long to get to the door and across the street. Harrah’s isn’t fancy Vegas, but it’s clean, and is in one of the best locations on the Strip. It’s right next to The Venetian, which has a few of my very favorite restaurants (while you are in Vegas, you MUST go to Bouchon), and it’s an easy walk to the Bellagio for the fountain show. So, for my money, the place to be for ALA Annual 2014 is Harrah’s Las Vegas.

I’ll be organizing a 2/4 Limit Hold’em table at some point, let me know if you’re interested. 🙂

Walking in the Mandalay Bay

Just a funny video testing my equipment and showing how large some of the hotels are here in Vegas.

I’ve got more video coming over at the American Libraries The Scoop as soon as the weather cooperates and people get back into the office, as well as a prologue to my coverage and the first of several upcoming posts about specific tech and companies that I think libraries should be watching. But if you want 6 minutes of me walking, this is definitely the video for you.

ALA Code of Conduct suggestion: open it up

With all of the discussion and fervor surrounding the ALA Statement of Appropriate Conduct at ALA Conferences (hereafter Code of Conduct) around the various library virtual communities (on Twitter, on Blogs, on Facebook, etc). There are several posts that stand out, (yes, all of those are from Andromeda Yelton, for my money she’s been the most consistent and thoughtful voice among many), but for a comprehensive read I suggest heading over to Lisa Rabey’s blog and following her timeline of discussions.

I have a suggestion that I’d love to see happen with the Code of Conduct. Someone (either ALA itself, or another group/individual) should:

  • Reframe and present the Code of Conduct in such a way to allow for co-signers from other Library groups.
  • Edit to make the language applicable to any Library conference.
  • Put the text into a system that allows for change tracking and electronic signatures.
  • Provide a space both for organizations to sign on, and for individual librarians to make a pledge to only attend conferences that have a Code of Conduct of this type.

This would allow state and international library organizations to easily have their own Code of Conduct for their local conferences, without everyone having to reinvent the wheel. I expect that the ALA’s Code is going to be a moving target, with edits to it for clarity and expansion of understanding, and so any system that does have a signatory function would need to track the version that was signed, or some other diff functionality showing how the Code has evolved.

Regardless of how it’s actually implemented, I think this would be a huge move forward, and would prevent local/state/international organizations from wasting enormous amounts of time drafting their own Codes. It would also ensure the spread of what I believe to be a very, very positive move for Librarianship. I’m thrilled by the positive feedback that the CoC has gotten, and I hope that someone somewhere can make the above happen so we can ease the burden for anyone who wants to participate, at any level, not just with the ALA.

My Recommendations for the ALA Elections 2013

Because this post is going to be about people for whom I think you should vote, I will begin with a disclaimer: The opinions below are mine, and mine alone, and I am not speaking in any role other than as an ALA Member with thoughts about the best choices for office.

Now that that little prelude is out of the way, here’s my take on the upcoming elections. These are the people that I think could make a difference in ALA, will make good decisions and guide the organization well, and are the most likely to leave the thing better than when they started. I also think that they represent the best parts of libraries and librarians, and would be positive role models for this, the professional service aspect of our job.

I don’t have opinions on every election outcome, because boy-o there’s a lot of them. But the few that I do care about, here’s who I will be voting for, and who I recommend you vote for as well.

ALA President

Always a big decision, but not always such an exciting set of candidates. This time around, I am thrilled beyond telling that Courtney Young is among the candidates. Courtney is smart as a whip, understands the issues, and will bring a new perspective to the office that gets me excited to see what she will do. I think Courtney would make an great ALA President. I hope that I get the chance to see her as such.

ALA Council

The list here is long, as always, but I think that the following are a great set of librarians who I want to empower to help run our organization: Lauren Pressley, Erica Findley, John Jackson, Kate Kosturski, Chris Kyauk, Coral Sheldon-Hess, and Patrick Sweeney. There are probably more that I’m forgetting, but I’ll add them as I find them on my ballot. 🙂

EDIT: Additional Council candidates that I would recommend: Loida Garcia-Febo, Kevin Reynolds, Edward Sanchez.

LITA Board of Directors

Oh, this is tough. The LITA board slate (Andromeda Yelton, Jason Battles, Brett Bonfield, and Jennifer Reiswig) is an amazing group of people. There are, truly, no bad choices in that field, and I think that’s great for LITA. You can’t go wrong. Me? I’m going to be voting for Andromeda and Brett, for a ton of reasons, but mainly because I think the two of them bring interesting perspectives to LITA that could broaden its horizons in ways that are needed.

So there’s my thoughts on the ALA elections. Democracy in action, people! Make sure you vote!

American Libraries Live

For those that missed it, I was the host of the first episode of American Libraries Live, a new monthly show from American Libraries. I had the best panel ever to work with backing me up, Marshall Breeding, Nina McHale, and Rebecca K. Miller. They could not have been more awesome to work with, and I can’t wait to do more with both the show, and these awesome librarians.

Take a look, and I’d love to hear suggestions for how to make it better in the future!

ALA 2012

ALA Annual 2012 is going to be huge, not only because it’s the first time my lovely daughter Eliza will be accompanying me to the conference (my wife Betsy is also coming, but she attended Chicago as well, so it’s not all new to her) but because it’s the first time I’ve actually scheduled “arrive early, do tourist stuff” for the conference. We’ll all be rolling into Anaheim on Tuesday before ALA, and doing Disney stuffs on Wed and Thurs. On Friday starts the conference proper for me, while they get to hang out and have fun. Below you’ll see my all-too-full schedule, and I’ve just really started to add things…I’m sure it will get even more full as the next week progresses.

You’ll also noticed that at times I’m double or triple booked. I’d love to not do this, but there truly are a ton of programs that I don’t want to miss, and I’m going to do my best to flit in and out and see as many as I can.

If you see me around, say hi!

Gadgets in the Library Workshop

On two days in May I will be doing a workshop for ALA Techsource called Gadgets in the Library: A Practical Guide to Personal Electronics for Librarians. If you or your library is interested in managing tablets, ereaders, or other gadgets for staff or patron use, and if you’re interested in hearing about where I think gadgets in libraries are going in the next 2-3 years, spend 3 hours with me. I’ll help you get comfortable with gadgets and try to give you options for how to deal with them.

When: May 10th and 24th from 2:30pm until 4pm Eastern time
Where: Online! Listen from your desk?
Who: You! Or if you’ve got a handful of people that are interested, get a discount with the group rate.
Why: Because you want help with managing personal electronics in the library
How: Register here.

My Spring

I’ve got a few things going on this Spring that I felt I should promote here on the blog, just to tie together some interesting content that people might be interested in. So here’s a quick look at what I’m either doing or working on over the next few months.

This coming Monday, April 16th, I will be speaking at the Southern Illinois University LIS Spring Symposium about the Post-PC Era, which should be a lot of fun. I’m always excited to meet with new librarians, so this should be fun.

Coming sometime this month is Gadgets & Gizmos II: Libraries and the Post-PC Era (link forthcoming), a Library Technology Report from ALA TechSource that is a followup to my 2010 LTR on Gadgets and Personal Electronics. In it, I take a look at how the world of personal electronics has changed in two years (TL;DR version: A LOT) as well as some new tech that libraries are either just starting to implement (3D printing) and some trends that I see coming in the next couple of years (health and other personal data tracking, drones).

The thing that I am maybe most excited about is that this is the first Library Technology Report that will be Creative Commons Licensed. It will be published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which is a big experiment for ALA publishing. I intentionally asked to allow derivatives, because I’m very curious what might spring from that. I’m also very interested in how a CC license will effect sales of the LTR…most LTRs rely on subscription sales for the vast majority of their volume, but I wanted to try to reach as many people as possible. But it still makes ALA Publishing a bit nervous, I think, to have the CC on it, at least if you judge from the amount of time it took to get it ok’d.

And then finally, I’ll be doing a webinar for Techsource based on that very same tech report, a 2 day online workshop on May 10th and 24th titled “Gadgets in the Library: A Practical Guide to Personal Electronics for Librarians“. The workshop is going to be a great mix of practical advice for the management of tablets and eReaders (and other personal electronics…leave a comment if you want me to cover something specific!) and a look at some of the newly-affordable hardware coming down the road in the next year or so.

In June I’ll be attending the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, and will be meeting with various LITA groups, as well as the  Library BoingBoing/LibraryLab Members group. I’m also hoping to catch up with the LITA CodeYear IG, which has some cool things starting to come together. Exciting stuff happening at Annual, I hope you’ll come join me!

Interview the LITA Presidential Nominees

LITA has amazing people on its ballot this year, but you don’t need to take my word for it…you can help make sure that the issues you think are the most important for LITA and ALA at large are put directly before the two candidates for President, Cindi Trainor and Aaron Dobbs. How, you ask? Go to this Google Moderator page and put your question there…Andromeda Yelton will be organizing these and getting them to the candidates to be answered. All of their responses will be put up on LITABlog.

Help us make these elections the most transparent and communicative in LITA’s history…ask your questions!

Libraries go bOING

Boing BoingI am incredibly excited that we’re finally launching Library Boing Boing! From the ALA post:

On the one hand, Library Boing Boing is a collaboration between ALA and the fabulously amazing Boing Boing folks to highlight all of the great new things libraries are doing. The most visible result will be regular posts about those great new things on the Boing Boing site itself.

On the other hand, Library Boing Boing: The Group has its own goals to help happy mutants in local communities connect with their happy mutant librarians to do good, work together on our shared interests, and make the world more better.

What can you do? To start with, head on over to the petition to make us a formally recognized ALA Member Interest Group…we need 100 signatures to get in front of the ALA Committee on Organization. Then at ALA Midwinter, it will go before ALA Council for approval.

We’ve already started a Library Boing Boing group over on ALA Connect, so go join that. It’s where we’ll hash out our plans to take over the world figure out what we can do to promote libraries and generally make some awesome happen.

Boing Boing is one of the most popular websites in the world, and having the opportunity to work with them to connect people to libraries is just about the coolest thing ever. I’ve been lucky enough to be featured on Boing Boing four times (1,2,3,4), mostly because the overlap between what libraries and librarians are interested in (freedom of information, democratization of information, copyright, DRM, technology) and what Boing Boing is about is huge. This is a great match, and I can’t wait to get started.

So, as Jenny said on the announcement post:

Start dreaming big. What could a dedicated, motivated, inspired group of librarians do with both Boing Boing and their own local happy mutants? How can we spread Library Boing Boing goodness throughout the profession?

Thanks to Andrea Davis and Patrick Sweeney for co-convening this thing with me, and special thanks to Jenny Levine for the idea and the wrangling! If you’re coming to ALA Midwinter, we’ll have a meetup on Sunday night (location and time TBA), and we’ll have some swag of some type to help identify other Happy Mutants. Keep your eyes out, go sign the petition, join the Connect group, and be on the lookout for wonderful things!