I spent 4 days last week in Minneapolis for the Public Library Association's national conference. There were so many things to appreciate about the city and the conference... in no particular order:
- Being in one place with almost 10,000 other public librarians was inspiring in itself--we all, as Kevin pointed out, speak the same language, and we all (hopefully) have the same mission. This was my first library conference, so I can't speak from experience, but at the American Library Association conference you get all types--archivists, law librarians, librarians for McDonalds and other corporations, etc. They're great too, but I'm passionate about the public service side of things and it's nice to have the whole conference apply to that kind of work.
- Seeing my beloved cousin Nathan and his lovely wife Anna. He's a Michigan transplant to Minnesota and has managed to pick up the accent in the last 14 years. It's cute.
- Karen Hyman, director of the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative, Joyce Saricks, Reader's Advisory guru, Greg Buss, director of the Richmond, BC Public Library, and many other less famous but no less talented librarians and presenters. Basically, being in the presence of greatness.
- We ate really well: happy hour at McCormick & Schmick's, lunches at Hell's Kitchen and Keys Cafe, and dinners at Oceanaire and Cafe Lurcat.
- Being a new librarian, I was especially enthusiastic to be able to participate (this came up in my first week of employment and I was fortunate to be chosen to go!), and I came home with lots of practical ideas, new contacts, and grandiose inspiration.
- Minneapolis is clean; it has good architecture, lots of public art, and a building awesomely labeled FOSHAY; the Skyway is brilliant; and it's surprisingly cosmopolitan for the Upper Midwest.
- Um, being there on the library's dime didn't hurt. :)
Photo courtesy of Kevin Yezbick.