I woke up with leaden legs for the second day in a row, and I didn’t even bike anywhere yesterday! I guess lots of walking and dancing aren’t exactly rest, but I couldn’t imagine two days in a row without a little pedaling, so even though I deigned to drive to brunch this morning, I took the bike down to the Convention Center for another visit to the ALA convention. This time I had my badge, thanks to a helpful blog reader, so I locked up right outside and headed in to the exhibit hall to meet L. and C. for a tour of some bookmobiles–those things are huge and so awesome! The actual librarians soon tired of the exhibit hall, so I spent the rest of the afternoon there by myself, showing genuine interest in the products and possibilities offered by two zillion vendors. My first stop, though, wasn’t to talk about another database aggregator, but to talk about the privatization threat facing public libraries in California. Libraries are one of our few public resources that is not trying to sell us anything but our own curiosity; we can’t put that in the hands of a private for-profit company, people! There is good to public goods! And then they gave me a tote bag with a pen and a squishy thing in it, and I was in the mood for the rounds. I had a mango icee, a quick Japanese lesson, and some headphones at that booth, grabbed a pocket U.S. Constitution from this one, a book here, a bookmark there, cake and champagne, and on and on and on. I snapped this picture of a display of book carts and book return dropboxes, the second one I saw today. Yep, there are companies that appear to only make those things at the library that you don’t even notice are there, and today, they wanted my business. There are whole worlds just under the skin of stuff we wander past, and it was a treat to peek at the library’s underthings today. I biked around the Quarter in the rain, had a wonderful dinner with two wonderful librarians, and then rode home in the muggy post-rain air, entirely pleased with my Sunday. Here’s to the next convention!
I loved your comment “There are whole worlds just under the skin of stuff we wander past…” You see, I am what I tell other people by way of explanation of what I do for a living a “convention producer” I am responsible for working with convention sponors like the American Library Assn and a whole myriad of other associations and companies to “produce” their meetings and expositions. It’s a huge relativley silent business that I have been involved with for over 35 years. Did you know there is a convention for Mushroom Farmers? Prostitutes/ Chances are that if you are working (or even playing) there is some sort of convention aimed at what you do. My daughter used to try to stump me by trying to figure out daily things that are all around us that didn’t have a convention or meeting associated with them. She finally gave up when she realized I couuld name a companty or association with all of them (even library dropboxes). Seems even thought we are getting more and more digtal and virtual day by day…there will always be a market for people wanting to meet face to face.
You, my friend, have a most interesting job! I do so love a convention center for all its weirdness. And I’m happy to know you’ve got us stumped.
Oh, and by the way… I forgot to mention this…I love your blog and your musings on New Orleans and other just plain musings. Sorry to learn you will be leaving the area (just kind of picked up on this from some past postings) but will look forward to your take on Baltimore. I lived in the DC area for some years prior to returning to New Orleans in ’04 and did a lot of convention work at the Baltimore Convention Center in the Inner Harbor. It’s an interesting place but sorry for you…it’s not New Orleans.
Thank you! I am sad to leave New Orleans, that’s for sure, but I’m looking forward to new streets to bicycle. In the meantime, let me know if there are any good conventions coming up that I might peek at behind the scenes!
It was a treat to peek at the library’s underthings today. That is a great sentence part. Love it!
Update on condiment library user…ketchup etc put into library return boxes: Her attorney bilked her out 10,000+ dollars and is going to jail. She is home again with her crazy right wing lawn.