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ALA Mid-Winter 2017, a conference of discovery. Three days in which our hero finds his pack and by extension finds himself (in a bar that stocks 60 different whiskeys).

When I say ‘find my pack’, I don’t mean figuring out who they are, but actually WHERE they are. I’m a member of ALA’s RUSA and ACRL divisions because the first has a resource sharing section and the second an access services interest group. At the conference, I discovered a third – LLAMA’s Systems and Services section which covers all things access. Where in the hell did they come from?

This revelation tripled the number of meetings/sessions I attended. Below is an in-depth report on each and every one.

Oh, you didn’t stop reading. You’re such a nerd. I’m just going to summarize, and add some fun stuff at the end.

Most sessions supported the notion that the challenges I face are faced by everyone else. It’s good to know I’m not missing anything. No one knows how to loan eBooks to other libraries. Everyone hates embargoed journal packages and how you can’t tell from a WorldCat record if another library has full or limited access. We all agree it has become easier to search the holdings of an Asian or European library, but NOT any easier to actually borrow from these libraries. Everyone had trouble meeting the demand for Hillbilly Elegy and we ALL despise OCLC.

The one session that spoke to me most was the first ever ACRL Access Services Interest Group meeting. It was organized by an old friend and we had a frank and heartfelt conversation about Access Services. We all agreed it has changed drastically (books in storage, distance education, technology equipment check out….), but we differed on what to do about it. Should we market ourselves more aggressively? Should we re-brand? Should we embrace combined service points or fight them? (no; yes; embrace.)

I did have some fun. Below are 2 pictures from the Eric Carle exhibit at the High Museum. Designed especially for kids (of all ages of course) the first illustrates how close you should stand to a work of art. The second is a picture of Mr. Carle himself using a broom to paint large pieces of collage paper. Hungry caterpillars, grouchy ladybugs and busy spiders were everywhere!