Saturday, June 28, 2014

More Thoughts on Vegas

One of my friends commented to me privately that she thought that my last post had been pretty negative and harsh about Vegas. Ant that could be true, and reflective of my mood at the time. Conference was not yet in full swing, and my comments reflected many of the comments I heard about the site.

Here are a couple of positive things:
  • People watching (especially outside the conference) is absolutely fascinating
  • There is an incredible mix of people just to judge the externals: ages, ethnicity, groupings mixed and not
  • People are often pretty happy-looking when they are not being amazed at the sites
  • Las Vegas is like no other place in the world
  • Here is (generally) an escape from reality
  • The Monorail is pretty amazing and wonderfully clean
  • Actually, given the volume of people and the activities they are engaged in, Vegas is a pretty clean city in terms of trash (at least on the Strip)
One part of Conference which helps to invigorate me, is meeting up with colleagues. That is a huge part of the experience. I get to see folks I have not seen in quite awhile (sometimes only a year, other times longer). It is also a chance to meet IRL (In Real Life) folks with whom I more often interact using technology.

Yesterday morning I was looking for breakfast and had that kind of experience. I was walking through a hotel/casino when someone called my name. It was someone who is a Facebook friend and with whom I had had some conversations, but had not ever met in person. We wound up going to breakfast -- Serendipity was the appropriate name of the restaurant -- which gave me a great beginning to the day.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thoughts about Vegas

I have been in Las Vegas (NV) for about 24 hours now. I am here for the American Library Association Annual Conference. It is not my first visit to Vegas, but it is the first time I have been here for a conference. The last time ALA was held in Vegas was in 1973.

Here are some somewhat random observations about Vegas based on this visit. Some are about Vegas as a place, and others are about Vegas as a venue for ALA Conferences.

  • "The Strip" has a lot of vertical to it, but outside of it, Vegas is like much of the west, and very low to the ground.
  • Because of the many tall buildings along the Strip, you can't really see the mountains, and get a physical sense of place.
  • Vegas is loud. Very loud. Every hotel lobby seems to be a mass of binging, clanging slot machines. The noise permeates the place. Also, the ceilings are generally low adding to the volume.
  • Signage is miserable. The hotels want to trap you at the gambling machines.
  • Outside is a mass of signs.
  • Traffic on the Strip is pretty bad.
  • The hotels and resorts are very territorial:
    • Fences abound between properties;
    • There is no idea of having the flow of traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) be logical;
    • Perfect example: the "Sky Bridge to Hotel" from the Convention Center....not sure what it goes over, there are no windows in it, there is no mention on the signs of which hotel, and the inside part ends at an escalator down to an alley between the Convention Center and the Hotel
  • Within hotels signage is at best miserable, and more often non existent.
  • There is no such thing as a straight line path between two points.
  • Nothing seems permanent. One of my colleagues was here 18 months ago for a meeting. There are no longer buildings in some places where there used to be, and vice versa. Some buildings new then look very run down already.
  • Distances are vast.....Instead of "objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear" it is true here that objects (hotels) you can see are further than you think.
I'll post more later about my more specific conference experiences/days.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ALA Conference 2014 - Calendar

I am going to Vegas. Since I was on the ALA Exec Board when we approved the location and dates, I felt a little obligation. It is not a heavy obligation, though.

So, if you are stalking me at ALA (and why not) here is my tentative calendar. In some time slots there are multiple events. It is a game day decision as to which event I may, or may not, attend. Remember, it is always subject to revision!

Dates for the Conference in Vegas are June 26 - July 2. Since this is Google Calendar, you may have to arrow over to the right week. (Or back if you are tracking me ex post facto.)

With any luck, I will get to blog some stuff. And I hope to write up a post conference set of comments.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Awful library book?

Recently, one of the staff brought me the book When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs. She noted that it had been featured on the web site Awful Library Books.

Don't get me wrong, generally, I think that Awful Library Books is a good source to remind librarians of some of the items which may be hidden in our collections which we should no longer keep. The tag line of  "Hoarding is not collection development" is an important concept. In many libraries, weeding has never been a priority...including those in which I have worked.

I brought the book home to read. Here is the posting on Awful Library Books: There are many insightful comments, and not all think that the book deserved to be featured on the web site.

As I read the book (and before reading the web review), I thought of what I have always considered the first graphic novel: Maus. Wind was published in 1982 -- although it seems older than that. Certainly, the attitudes expressed about mutually assured destruction seem much more like those I remember of a decade or more earlier. It may be that this (Wind) is really the first graphic novel.

I did some quick research about Maus. (Wikipedia has a nice summary.) While Maus was first started with a strip in the early 70s, it was not fully serialized until starting in 1980. The first graphic novel, the collection of the first six chapters, was published in 1986 -- four years after Wind.

What to do? I think that this work will stay in our collection, even after the Awful Library Books selection. Generally we use that as a guideline for weeding (and have even submitted items which have been selected). This is an important work, and is unlikely to be retained in other public libraries in this state.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

ALA 101 - Updates

Back in the day....(damn, I sound like a geezer), I posted a series of notes about ALA and its structure and governance. When I last changed format of the blog, I took the index to them and made it a "page."

Today, I updated that page to include a couple of new links. One is to a guide on the ALA web site which has some important definitions of terms, and the other is linked to a blog which aggregated some of the links commonly used by a Councilor.

Here is the link to the updated page: