As near as I can remember, this was my 10th or 11th ALA Annual. It’s been 24 hours since I got home, and I’m still mentally processing it all, but I have come up with a few parting thoughts.
First, I must agree with Barbara Brynko’s recent post: Have Comfort, Will Travel. It doesn’t take 10 ALAs to figure out that women should leave their high heels at home. I’m all about foot-friendly shoes, but still, in past years there were times when the final steps of my day were pure agony. Not this time! Since I recently had some foot problems flare up, this year I totally threw fashion to the wind and wore nothing but quality sneakers the entire time. And it was the first year that my feet still feel totally fine after 4 grueling days. Advice for all women: Nobody there cares what your feet look like! Do yourselves a favor and put health before haute. Or put a podiatrist’s kids through college. It’s your call.
On that same note, I want to thank Gale yet again for providing the buses that make our conference lives possible. On one of my rides, the monitors in the bus were scrolling through Gale ads and info, and one screen shocked me: It said that Gale had been sponsoring these ALA buses since 1965. That’s as long as I’ve been alive! We love you, Gale!!
I have to say what a thrill it was to launch my book at this conference! And here’s a big shout-out to the Swap & Shop committee, especially chair Sally Lederer who kindly allowed Info Today and I to have my book signing there. As far as we know, it’s the first book launch to ever happen at the Swap. We made history!
This 09 exhibit hall seemed smaller than in previous years. First I thought it was just b/c I wore sneakers, but no — ALA reports that it was smaller. I’m sorry for vendors who missed being there, but I did find it more manageable to cover!
Finally, I love it when ALA is in Chicago. Such a welcoming city, such a beautiful downtown. And such great things to see, if you can carve out an hour to see any of them.
BTW, I took many more pictures than I could ever post here. For instance, here’s one of Jenny Levine demonstrating ALA Connect. If you want to see more, hop over to my Flickr site where I’ll be adding shots for days to come.
Lastly, a quick follow-up on my last post on the Closing General Session. After hearing Steve Lopez tell his story about homeless musical wonder Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, I eagerly dug into my copy of The Soloist. (Thanks again, Penguin publishing.) That was only 3 days ago, and I’ve just finished. It’s been a long time since I’ve raced through a book like this, but it’s a fascinating story and an easy read. I recommend it.
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