"Igniting the Passion": the Texas Library Association's 2006 Annual Conference
I returned last night from my 20th TLA. As usual, TLA was a wonderful event; I estimate that there were 8,000 librarians in attendance. Final attendance figures will be announced through TLA.
This was a busy conference for me. I had wireless access but somehow could only read my mail and not reply. Here's a recap of some of the activities.
Tuesday, 25 April 2006: Preconference, "Analyze This!" 8 a.m. to noon.
Ph.D. student Arro Smith, university librarian Jo Anne Newyear-Ramirez, and I gave a 4 hour preconference on collection evaluation for the Acquisitions and Collection Development Round Table. Over 40 were in attendance for this $75/head (TLA member rate) event, indicating a great interest in the topic. The room was full and we had to pull in chairs from an adjoining room. Arro did a wonderful job illustrating his formulaic approach for collection evaluation planning. He's preparing a manuscript of his paper for publication. Jo Anne also was fantastic and covered serials evaluation and new tools to help study your collections. I covered basic ideas including historical quotes as well as information on SACS accreditation. Audience members gave us high marks and we'd like to do it again!
Tuesday, 25 April 2006: Public Relations Committee responsibilities
My term is now completed on TLA's Public Relations Committee and I've had the good fortune to learn from the very able committee chairs, Sue Haas and, now, Dee Brock. At this TLA we worked to distribute information about TLA's new promotional campaign, "Love Your Library." My friend, Karla Cowes (Bigshotpromotions.com) designed a great sticker; we had 4,000 to distribute and thousands of conference attendees wore their blue "(heart) your library" stickers on their name badges. The entire "Love Your Library" toolkit with posters, press releases, a proclamation, etc., will be on the TLA Website next month! I attended TLA Council I on Tuesday and then got ready for evening events.
Tuesday, 25 April 2006: All Conference Welcome Party and Houston Public Library Reception!
Fortunately, there was time to relax and socialize during every night of the conference. On Tuesday night I attended the All Conference Welcome Party at the Houston Aquarium. Former and current students Ashley Perez, Amy Alcott, Liz Barksdale, and I hung out. We took the train through the shark tunnel, visited the white tigers, and made it back to the hotel just as the torrential rain started. This still gave me time to pop into Rhea Lawson's, Director, Houston Public Library,
reception. Megwitch, thank you, Rhea for hosting TLA in your city!
Wednesday, 26 April 2006:
I was setting up our two Diversity Fair booths and missed General Assembly I. Julie Andrews as the speaker. Special congratulations to my friends Beth Wheeler Fox and Jerilynn Williams. Beth received the Librarian of the Year Award. Jerilynn received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Jerilynn, Lyle L. and I are both proud of you!
Thanks, Roy Krymis, for your work on the Diversity Fair. How many other state library associations do a Diversity Fair? TLA's is sponsored by DEMCO. The students and I prepared two booths to promote the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, Honoring Generations (our scholarshp program for Native students), and "If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything" (the national reading club for Native youth).
10:30 - 11:50. Roy Krymis also organized a panel on Multicultural Library Trends. I was pleased to be able to present with Jiangping Chen, Carolyn Davdison, Pat Mora, Jennifer Renteria, Nancy Torres, and LeRoy Robinson.
Lettie Rodriguez, librarian at the Ysleta del Sur tribal library, and I toured the exhibits and then I rushed off for my duty as judge for TLA's first Book Car Drill Team competition. I was asked to serve as judge several weeks ago and immediately contacted Sarah Long, whom I knew was involved with the national book cart drill team competition at ALA. Sarah Long advised me to read the text so I contacted Ann Ramos, librarian at our library science collection at the Texas State Library and Archives. She sent me Linda McCracken and Lynne Zeiher's "The Library Book Cart Precision Drill Team Manual." I knew they were the authorities when they acknowledged Marvin Scilken! John Ison (Demco), Gretchen McCord Hoffmann (TLA President), and I served as judges. While Gretchen and I both thought our tough judging styles resembled Simon's (on American Idol), we know that John was the Paula among the judges! The Book Divas were the highest scoring team and earned the privilege to enter the national competition at ALA/New Orleans. The other six teams were equally strong and a joy to watch.
Former student, Lisa Hendricks (Talking Books Program, Texas State Library and Archives), helped me decompress from judging and prepare for the TLA President's Party. I missed attending two other enticing events (Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and GLBT Interest Group Meet-n-Group) that were held off location. The President's All-Conference party followed a Hawaiian theme and we all danced to Austin's Duck Soup live music until the event closed.
Thursday, 27 April 2006:
Pat Mora (Pura Belpre book award winner, among other awards) and I caught up at breakfast and then it was back to conference programs. I caught some of the "Libraries Without Borders" program on how border libraries are serving Spanish-speakers. I also attended the beginning of the Black Caucus Round Table Business Meeting to distribute copies of the registration form for the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color. The it was time for Public Relations Committee program on the 50 Reasons (plus!) To Love Your Library. Once I remembered that I was supposed to bring the laptop and CD drive, the program went smoothly! Thanks to former and current students Sandy Littletree and Sara Joiner for helping with the technology.
Ph.D. student Mariela Gunn and I had a contributed paper on "Building a Rural Bridge to TexShare for Small and Rural Libraries" in the afternoon. Mariela also served on the "Savvy Staff Training for Free" program on Friday morning and was an excellent speaker at both events. She'll be a much recruited prospective faculty member when her time arrives! TLA's contributed papers are peer-reviewed presentations that highlight current research and demonstration projects in Texas.
From the contributed paper, I ran to the Green Room where I waited to join the others who were to sit on stage for General Session II. Marlee Matlin was the key speaker. This actress, advocate, and mother-of-four is also a children's book author. She was instrumental in getting closed-captioning on television. And, she was a warm and friendly person, greeting each of us and serving as group-cheerleader as we marched toward the stage. I had a four minute summary of my ALA Presidential Campaign issues and then got to sit down with everyone else and enjoy Marlee's presentation.
The last night at TLA brought the needed social time, starting with the Joint Publishers' Cocktail Reception, followed by our UT-Austin School of Information Alumni Dinner. I caught up with Lettie Rodriguez a the Small Community Libraries Round Table Dessert Social. It is always rewarding to see Darryl Tocker and the appreciation he receives as representative of the Tocker Foundation. Lettie and I rushed off, a bit late, to the Doo-Wop Sock Hop. Tim Bullard, former student who has led an exemplary career in the Dallas Public Library system, awaited us. Luckily, the DJ played `our song,' and Tim and I had our annual dance to ABBA's "Dancing Queen."
My last official TLA actions over, I spent Friday morning dipping into programs and visiting the exhibits. I caught the end of Mariela's program on "Savvy Staff Training for Free" and canvassed publishers for donations of books and promotional material for "If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything." I closed my TLA with attending TLA Council II and heard the good news that TLA is establishing an endowment for Patricia Smith and the response has been phenomenal.
TLA 2007 will be in San Antonio. Y'all attend this remarkable event!