No, I am not going to post about what is happening in my personal life.
Being at the ALA Annual Conference has put me in a reflective mood. One of the topics I have been thinking about the nature of personal relationships.
I love going to ALA Conferences, because I get to spend time with various folks who I do not get to see very often. For some of them, my relationship with them goes back to the mid-80s or before. (The mid-80s is when I began my active work in ALA.)
There are several folks with whom I have spent a great deal of time, in intense discussions, for a period of time. I am thinking of ALA Executive Board (EB) and ALA Council in particular. Service on the EB is very intense. There are 4 - 5 meetings in person each year (Midwinter and Annual included) with almost monthly phone conference calls, and many, many emails. Catching up with those folks is important to me. This is the one time of year when that happens.
From among my "Council friends," one of the things I value is the ability to disagree on any given issue, but to still maintain a relationship, if not deepen it. Respect for a person does not mean you cannot disagree.Indeed, some of the folks I most respect on Council, are some with whom I disagree on one or more issues. We can disagree without being disagreeable. I have one friend (from Council and EB) who often says, what is most important is keeping an open mind and listening, especially to those with whom you disagree. She cites an example (I remember the event, but not the issue), when she and I were among a small group who stood in support of a particular motion with some of the folks with whom we most often disagreed. We had sat and listened to the arguments, and changed our minds! Getting to hang out with folks like that is part of what has enriched my life in ALA.
Facebook helps to maintain contact with many of my ALA friends, and, for me, enriches many of my relationships. At the same time, it is important for me to have the "face-time" or IRL (In Real Life) contact. That is and important part of what ALA meetings are about for me today.
I also had one of those "serendipity" moments. The first day of the conference, I had wandered through my hotel, and accidentally into the next one. I "saw the light" and was headed towards the street. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice someone else headed that way, but I was trucking on. Then, after having passed the person, I heard my name. It was someone to whom I had been introduced on Facebook, and with whom I had chatted a couple of times, but had never met (even though they were from New Orleans!). We chatted for a few moments, and after I mentioned I was headed out to find food, we agreed to go have breakfast. We wound up at the restaurant across the street, aptly named Serendipity.
For me, it was a great beginning to the conference. Many relationships were solidified, and others renewed. It is part of what I need on a periodic basis.