Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Librarians: Information Superheroes!

In my last activity as Alabama Library Association president, I spent the bulk of last week in conference mode.

I had an incredible bay view from my quarters

My welcome note from the program:
It is truly and honor and privilege to be able to welcome you to our annual association convention. Like many of you, I have fond recollections of family trips to the beach, which in my childhood always meant Gulf Shores. Alabama’s gulf coast holds so many memories. I can vividly remember my first glimpse of the indelible bloodstain at Fort Morgan and especially treasure a romantic visit to the Malaga Inn in downtown Mobile. From the azalea trail to the first American Mardi Gras and the Moon Pie drop on New Year’s Eve, the Alabama Gulf Coast is home to a very special way of life, and I am especially thrilled that we will be able to include our colleagues in the Southeastern Library Association for this joint conference.
The lovely and historic setting at The Grand at Point Clear made it a natural choice for reconnecting with colleagues, recharging after a busy school year or semester, or gearing up before summer reading begins, and I hope that you will join me in taking the time for reflecting upon our tremendous privilege to work in such a valuable and fundamental role in our communities. Our event theme, “Information Superheroes,” is a nod to all we do. We hope that you will begin to recognize and publicize the Herculean tasks you accomplish daily and your many skills which you so selflessly deploy.

Last summer, I heard Discovering Alabama’s Doug Phillips describe our state as one of the richest places on the planet in terms of environmental diversity. This is one of the most special and unspoiled places in an area overflowing with natural beauty. Whether you are a native or a newer Alabamian, I think you will gain a special affection for the landmarks and landscape of Baldwin County over the course of this conference.

The conference committee is eager to share their local knowledge with you, and do let the members of your association’s governance know if we can help you with anything during the event. We have worked hard to make sure that there are a variety of speakers of both general and niche interests among our program, and hope you will enjoy this annual celebration and rejuvenation of the libraries of the state of Alabama.
Preconference tour of the bay front with local historian John Sledge
I picked a downright amazing convention committee chair who made the four days in Point Clear edifying and fun for everyone with a really adorable and apt superhero theme, which I wrote about here in The Communicator, our Association newsletter.

Keynote speaker Longmire author Craig Johnson with convention chair Wendy Congiardo

Best theme tie-in goes to my friends from Mountain Brook
I really only got the kindest feedback from the attendees and exhibitors who attended.

The exhibits were hopping every time I happened by.

Highlights included:
Rachel Hawkins delivered a sunny and heartfelt talk at the President's Luncheon.

The groundbreaking Lilly Ledbetter was among our Alabama Author Award winners.

What we all need: more silver!

My talk on leadership for our Emeritus Council program:


How could you not enjoy yourself with a setting this idyllic?

Then I spent Saturday repping the Association at the Alabama Book Festival.

Now that this year of heady responsibility is behind me, there are so many things I want to do in the library, so I'm hoping I can turn my attentions to some long-term planning. I feel like I've been overly reactionary for the last few years, making things work as best I can, and I want to spend the spring and summer shifting into a proactive mode in our great new space.
Special thanks to everyone who made the trek down south and those who make Alabama libraries services such a force for good -- I am convinced that we do indeed punch above our weight.

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