Sunday, October 29, 2006

WLA 2006: The best conference ever

When Joy put a call out for guest bloggers a few weeks ago I jumped at the chance. Sure, I appreciate the opportunity to improve my (very amateur) blogging skills. But mostly I really do think this year's conference will be terrific. So many wonderful speakers, so many presenters sharing their expertise, so many great minds from all over the state coming together to network, exchange handouts, eat great food, and push each other down the waterslides. You really have to hand it to the conference planners; they've put together one exciting shindig in a fun locale, and I'm grateful to be a part of it.

Among the several presenters I can't wait to meet are Sanford Berman and Jessamyn West. I consider Berman, a retired head cataloger, one of our profession's genuine heroes. Most famous for his advocacy of more accurate and inclusive subject headings, he has also spent considerable time combating poverty, senseless violence, sexism, and oppression. One of the articles on his site is called "The People's Librarian." That's a good way to think about him: sort of the Howard Zinn of librarianship - always putting us back in touch with our consciences. His Wednesday afternoon workshop (2 p.m. Aralia Room) is appropriately titled, "What do poor people need & deserve from libraries." His luncheon speech begins at 12:30, Thursday in the A&H Room.

West is behind the wonderful website and was co-editor of the mind-blowing book, Revolting Librarians Redux. Her passion, as she puts it, is "mucking about in the intersection of libraries, technology and politics and describing what I find there." She'll talk on tech trends in libraries Friday at 9 a.m. in the Guava Room, and discuss small libraries and the digital divide at 10:30 in Suite 3.

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