Thursday, June 23, 2011

American Library Association Annual Meeting Begins Today

For the next six days New Orleans will host over 20,000 members of American Library Association (ALA).   I am not attending, and I will be happy when its over. Although attendees represent only a fraction of the total ALA membership all of us are inundated with e-mails telling us what is going on, which vendors will be there, and which poster sessions are scheduled. I can't help but think that an organization of information specialists could do a better job with managing its e-mail list serves. I have been to ALA before, and plenty of other library conferences, and one thing I am certain of is that the lines at the women's restrooms will be horrific. With the possible exception of the lines at the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), library conference lines are the worst. It almost makes me think I should have considered engineering as a career choice. I think the most egregious example of poor restroom planning I experienced was at the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference in Baltimore in 2007. All scheduled at the Baltimore Convention Center at the same time were: ACRL, a Mary Kay convention, and a cheerleading convention. Really? Three conventions of mostly women? Who planned that? For my sisters who are crossing their legs I have this advice: the lines are usually shorter if you go up one flight.
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