I did more at ALA than play with the baby... really.
It's just a little overwhelming to be suddenly surrounded by 12,000 librarians. All in sensible shoes, with simple haircuts (some more stylish than others) and comfortable clothing. I'm afraid I fit right in...
At the notable books breakfast I sat next to a young woman from Kansas who'd recently taken the leap from staff librarian to director at her library. She was making all of $30,000. Her board was refusing to pay her more because the previous librarian, who sucked, had earned more, and they told her that no librarian would ever earn that much again.
I wanted to say "honey, high-tail it out of there and don't look back." But I didn't. I was good. I did say something along the lines of, "boy, if they had to look for somebody new they'd be in for a rude awakening." Stupid, stupid board. What kind of logic makes anyone think that punishing the successor is a good idea? Just go and shoot yourself in the foot, and screw your library in the process.
Speaking of which.... I had a staff member tell me today that she was glad she's not getting calls at home anymore from library patrons complaining about the previous director. And that she wasn't the only one. I confess I was a little shocked that it happened at all. But I, too, am happy that none of my staff are getting hate calls about me. Sounds like a good goal -- no hate calls.
I learned at ALA that downloadable audio books are something I should look into, but the plethora of options re: players and payment setups is going to keep me from leaping anytime soon. Sorry, folks - there're too many differences still out there, and I can't afford subscriptions to 3 different services to cover all the bases. Plus 75% of my District can't get high-speed internet, which severely cramps one's downloading style, and setting up a computer here for downloading is just too much right now.
I also learned that what I'm already trying to do at my library, in my own stumbling way, is merchandising. My itty-bitty background in marketing has sure stuck with me. But I now know what to call it, and I'm going full-steam ahead with some more ideas gleaned from conference. Ahoy, slatwall displays! Book gondolas! Neon signs! (no, really!)
And film programs... well, I've got to get something going. There's some great stuff out there. It's not all "National Treasure" on Friday nights, you know. Cool documentaries with associated speakers and programs... But I still like my first idea, which was "Movie and Dinner" -- library patrons get discounts at local restaurants the same day we show a film. Wouldn't that be fun? I think it would. We shall see.
Exhibits were a whole 'nother story, which I will write up later. For my own edificiation if not yours.