The first session I attended at ALA Midwinter 2015 was the ERT (Exhibits Round Table)/Booklist Author Forum which was a panel discussion featuring graphic novel artists, Cece Bell (author of El Deafo, a 2015 Newbery Honor Book), Jeff Smith (creator of the BONE comic book series), Gene Luen Yang (author of American Born Chinese), and Francoise Mouly who is the art director at The New Yorker as well as the publisher and editorial director of TOON Books. All discussed the important role comics played in their lives growing up. Today’s comics and graphic novel artists are willing to tell stories that we as a society may be uncomfortable discussing, and this in turn can contribute to kids’ understanding of diversity. Some comics are now being read in middle school classrooms where teachers are able to lead thoughtful discussions on issues such as stereotypes.

Francoise Mouly, who was born in Paris, shared her thoughts on the terrorist attack which killed 11 individuals and injured 11 others at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015. Are we going to skirt the issues because we’re afraid of reactions? The world’s reaction to this event demonstrates the recommitment of faith in the power of cartoons. With cartoons being a part of society’s visual culture, cartoonists have to go to the essence of things (e.g. stereotypes) in their art so as to visually communicate ideas, but cartoonists also have the ability to deconstruct these ideas as well. Cartoonists have the ability and a duty to bring to the table things/issues that are difficult to understand. They must be concise in words and back up whatever they draw on a page to communicate their thoughts.

Other sessions/events attended included:

  • Cataloging Management Interest Group – Two universities shared their experiences on having Backstage Library Works (BSLW) enrich their cataloging records’ data with RDA 33x fields. (Note: RDA enrichment of ZSR’s catalog data was performed by BSLW over the 2014 winter holiday.)
  • ACRL’s Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) social held at MingHin Cuisine.
  • MARC Formats Transition Interest Group – Librarians from the University of California at Davis and the National Library of Medicine discussed their library’s experiments with BIBFRAME, a new data encoding format that is supposed to replace the MARC record. Development of modular core vocabulary, mapping and conversion of legacy data to core vocabulary, and technical services workflow were issues touched upon by the presenters.
  • Cataloging Research Interest Group – Presenters discussed their individual cataloging research projects with which they are involved. Two Library of Congress (LC) librarians discussed LC’s Cataloging in Publication (CIP) E-books program. A Binghamton University librarian discussed cataloging of original screenplays using RDA and the challenges she faced such as lack of guidelines or examples, differences in librarian interpretation as to what is considered published and non-published which in turn affects the coding of a catalog record, and consistency in descriptive information.
  • OCLC’s WorldShare Metadata Users Group – McGill University librarians discussed their use of OCLC’s WorldShare Collection Manager and Knowledge Base to manage their library’s collections. Per an OCLC representative, Connexion (software in which catalog records are created and retrieved) will be replaced by WorldShare Record Manager, but no date has been officially given.

Additionally, I got a chance to catch up with my friend and former ZSR colleague Erik Mitchell; have breakfast with members of the editorial board of Technical Services Quarterly (Steve Kelley and I recently got appointed as co-editors of their book review column); speak with publishing representatives about receiving review copies of library monographs; and last but not least, enjoy watching the last half of the Super Bowl in my hotel’s Irish pub, Kitty O’Sheas, with Susan Smith.