I had a great time at ALA. The talk on Flat World, Flat Web, Flat School went very well, extraordinarily well for a first time presentation. A number of people talked extensively about the presentation afterward, and I got to meet one of my blogging heros, Shifted Librarian, Jenny Levene (her blogged notes). She suggested a different blogging tag for the conference, ALA2006, rather than ALA06, and it revealed a bunch of new blog entries and flickr photos from the conference on Hitchhikr. I really need to figure out a way for the aggregators to handle more than one tag at a time.
Last night, I had dinner with the Rosen Publishing folks and their board of advisors, mostly library people from the university and state library level, and Linda Williams, the current president of the AASL. This was an adventure.
It started when I walked up to the address that had been given to me, and it turned out to be a doorway, with a grated fence, that was padlocked, and the padlock looked like it hadn’t been opened in nearly a century. Through the doorway, I saw a walk way that meandered back, but was obstructed by fallen debris that rested under layers of dust and gunk. I was obviously in the wrong place, though the address was write. I called Miriam Gilbert, with Rosen, and she directed me over to the French Quarter hotel that they were staying in, where I waited in a very elegant lobby, see pictures.
Miriam investigated and learned that the room we were supposed to have dinner in was actually in the upstairs of the restaurant across the street, but that the air conditioning was not working in that room, so we would be eating in a different room, in the top floor of the building. We walked there, a couple of blocks, were led up a several flights of almost questionable stairs (this is New Orleans, and you’re there for adventure), and into a beautiful dinner room with a long table, a bar, and waiters, waiting to serve. We stood around, talked, quenched our thirsts, waited for others to arrive, and it started to rain.
I said something about adventure before, didn’t I? About ten minutes after it started to rain out side, it started to rain in side. First it was one leak, water running off of a rafter. Then there was another leak, and then another. We kept moving around in the room to avoid the water, until we were all bunched up against the an inner wall, unspoken concern beginning to express itself on our faces.
The head waiter came and said that they had secured, for us, another room on the floor below, and that they were moving the food down to our new room. Then he returned and said that there had been an altercation with the food, and that they would have the stairs cleaned up straight away. I think it was the pasta, though there was evidence of calamari involvement.
The rain had eased off, street sounds were returning, and the leaking was subsiding, though there were still a couple of small pond sized puddles on the floor. There was some concern about alligators, but I’m easing a little too much into the spirit of adventure here.
The head waiter arrived and directed us down to the next room where we had a separate bar that was actually an enclosed balcony, and we watched a parade, led by a dixieland band. Great fun.
Finally, we had food, fresh calamari, chicken (amazing how many ways you can fix chicken, pasta, and jamabalaya. Our meal was followed by a meeting, where we brainstormed on Rosen’s new database service. This was great fun, with many creative ideas express from these very smart people. The meeting was followed by desert. I had chocolate cake. Some few of you know what this means to me, my relationship with chocolate and all.
Several of us got a cab to our hotels near the convention center, and I took the cab on out to the airport where I had a room waiting for me. I’m in the airport now, 5:17 AM, waiting for a flight to Atlanta, and then on to Connecticut, where I’ll speak at a wonderful conference tomorrow, for the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. I keynoted that conference last year, talking about new literacy. Tomorrow I’ll talk about millennial students and also do a breakout session on combating plagiarism. Then it will be off to Wisconsin.