Thursday, November 10, 2005

Aloha, y'all!

Last January the Hawaii Library Association invited me to attend their annual conference. I left Austin yesterday, 9 November, and arrived in Kona, via Los Angeles, late last night. Chi megwitch (thanks very much), Hawaii Library Association for your wonderful hospitality and the financial support covering my airfare, hotel room, registration, and meals. This year's conference theme is "Mixed Plate: A Diversity of Ideas for Hawaii's Libraries." I'm scheduled to give a talk early on 12 November. I've chosen the focus of "Building Bridges: Supporting and Creating Library Servies for Indigenous Population." I also have an opportunity to give my first five-minute campaign pitch at the conference dinner. Three great programs are scheduled during my program slot so I'll miss learning about the experiences of an orchestra librarian and a librarian reporting on the flood in the U of Hawaii Library as well as a program on RFID by a representative from 3M. I'll send a report on more of the events in the next entry. The conference kicks off tomorrow afternoon, 11 November. Who wouldn't want to attend an event in Hawaii--a wonderful venue for a future ALA conference, IFLA event, or International Indigenous Librarians Forum?

One of the first things I've learned in my ALA Presidential campaign is that prospective voters like to define candidates by work environment. Someone sent me an email describing me as the youth and public libraries candidate. Library introduced me as an academic candidate. Another member of the press described me as a school librarian. Perhaps I perform part of all of these roles; my views, contacts, interests, and energies extend across work settings. Today I communicated with a tribal archivist, faculty colleagues, MSIS and PhD students, several prospective students, two international journal editors, a state journal editor, an ALSC representative, two public library directors, a researcher at a computer company in the Bay Area, a computer science professor, a state library consultant, a program manager for a program documenting indigenous languages, a public librarian, a Maori specialist in cultural heritage/archives/genealogy, and a professor in curriculum and instruction in Illinois. Each of us forges linkages across settings, time and space. In future entries I'll introduce some of these settings and individuals and highlight work in tribal colleges, international connections and initiatives, the role of libraries as laboratories of discovery, and cross-disciplinary collaborations that can help us enhance services to library patrons.

Reading Circle:

If you're worried that people may not be reading, just take a long airplane flight. Fellow travelers serve as reader's advisors, letting me know about series, authors, titles that I may have missed. And the travelors I encounter hold libraries and librarians in high regard. My guides on this trip included a Canadian whose current job is running karaoke parties in nursing home facilities, a two-year old who could floss her teeth on her own, and a retired police commissioner with a new career in government arbitration. When not writing, I spent my in-flight time reading a romance by Maeve Binchy. In "Genreflecting" Betty Rosenberg categorized Binchy as a contributor to the subgenre of the `womanly romance,' a category that also includes my two other favorite romance writers: Rosamund (and her son, Robin) Pilcher and LaVyrle Spencer. What is appealing about these works? Perhaps the largely rural settings, nostalgic reflections, and visible impact of making large life decisions. Remember Rosenberg's First Law of Reading: "Never apologize for your reading tastes."