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My reason for attending the recent Midwinter Conference of the American Library Association in Seattle had to do with my committee responsibilities related to the upcoming ACRL Conference in April 2013. I am co-chair of the Cyber Zed Shed Committee (the name: I know, I know). Conference chairs met on Sunday afternoon to ensure overall coordination and my Committee met on Monday morning to go over our specific responsibilities. In this, it was a successful conference.

Whenever I travel, Angela Glover, our development officer, tries to arrange meetings with local alumni or potential donors. In Seattle, she arranged two dinners with prominent local alums. It was fun to get to know them better and to update them on ZSR’s activities. Thanks, Angela!

I tried to make good use of my time for the rest of the trip. I attended a SPARC-sponsored session of alternative metrics that lamented the “skinny shoulders” of glamour journals that publish only highlights of results, rather than providing the “broad shoulders” of methods and data that will allow others to replicate or extend the work. We need the shoulders of giants to stand on, was the creative way to express the message. I tried to attend the LITA Top Tech Trends on Sunday morning, but the line was out the door and I couldn’t hear from the hallway. Maybe someone else will report on that.

A highlight for me was a talk by Caroline Kennedy (yes, THAT Caroline Kennedy), who is an accomplished lawyer, author, and activist. Her keynote address was an inspiration that I thoroughly enjoyed. She talked about how her parents (yes, THOSE parents) instilled a love of reading in her and her brother and how she and JFK, Jr were required to memorize and recite poems for their mother’s birthday. She talked about her family and civic responsibility to support the JFK Museum and keep it relevant to children who view her father’s presidency as ancient history. She is clearly an advocate for libraries and literacy. My favorite quotes were that libraries were “tabernacles of personal freedom,” “librarians are the most committed community activists I know,” and “the best leaders are those that care the most.”

The one fun thing I did was to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, next to the Space Needle. Truly, it is the most beautiful museum I have ever seen. Susan and Roz and crew went separately and took lots of wonderful photographs. I’m sure they will share!

In her Midwinter post, Lauren P. said that she LOVES governance work. I am so glad she does because ALA really needs it. It makes less and less sense for libraries like ours to send people clear across the country for committee meetings that take less than an hour and could easily be done online. It’s not like we don’t have plenty of other face-to-face opportunities as well. So Lauren, we will be hoping that your love for governance bears fruit, even if it stems from Blacksburg, VA 🙁