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As has been my trend over the last few ALA conferences, most of my work was done in the Law and Political Science Section of ACRL. I am the incoming chair of the section (as of July 1) so there was lots to do. On Friday I attended the ACRL Leadership Council meeting where we get updates on what is happening at ACRL and provide input on various initiatives. This time we were asked to comment on what ACRL should be doing to continue/revise/refresh their strategic plan, the ACRL Plan for Excellence. It is entering it’s fifth year and now is the time to look at it and see what needs to be modified for the next five years. It was an interesting discussion.
Then on Saturday we had our LPSS Executive Committee meeting followed by our general membership meeting. Then in the afternoon we had our program that we put on jointly with the Anthropology and Sociology Section and the ASCLA Library Services to the Incarcerated and Detained interest group. It was a great panel – Libraries Behind Bars: Education and Outreach to Prisoners.
I followed up that panel with a trip to the exhibits which were, for the first time in my memory, split across two exhibit halls in adjoining buildings. I visited some furniture vendors including Agati who had the coolest new individual study pods ever (we want some to try out in ZSR), Swank who has a new academic package of films and a new model for access to them (feature films, not documentaries), our microfilm machine vendor to hear what’s new with the new models and software, and some of the usual suspects of publishers.
Sunday morning was the Alexander Street Press breakfast and the guest speaker was Cynthia Sandberg who owns Love Apple Farms and is the farmer from The Farmer and The Chef documentary. She spoke about Biodynamic farming – a system of farming that is more rigorous than organic and takes into account the entire ecosystem. It was not a term I was familiar with but resonates with much of what one of my heroes, Joel Saladin, does at Polyface Farm in Virginia.
I wrapped up my ALA by going to a Proquest focus group about SIPX – a company that ProQuest recently bought. ProQuest is trying to figure out how they might integrate the services SIPX offers into their discovery services. SIPX is in some ways a course pack builder program that faculty can use to build reading lists, etc. It has some potential and Mary Beth (who came to the focus group with me) and I will keep our eyes on it for how ProQuest incorporates it in the future.
It was, quite frankly, a bit hard to concentrate in San Francisco with the SCOTUS decision and the Pride Parade all happening while we were there – but all in all it was good conference in a beautiful city!! I suspect we will be thinking back fondly on the SF weather next June when we are stuck in Orlando’s heat and humidity.