24 hours of Chicago ALA Annual Conference 2017

By Angela Mott, Production Support Team Leader


Well, that was a quick trip! ALA Annual was held in Chicago this year. I had 24 hours to get in there and meet up with as many clients as possible, so I tried to make the most of it. My feet didn’t much appreciate it, but I did my best.

After checking into the hotel on Saturday morning, I headed to Gino’s East for lunch (as “ordered” to do by my co-workers back in Virginia Beach). I arrived just as they opened at 11am and went with the waiter’s suggestion of a small deep dish pizza: ½ Meaty Legend and ½ Gino’s Supreme with Italian sausage. I was not disappointed. I managed to eat at least most of the toppings of half of it, but since I didn’t have a hotel room yet I donated the other half to a person as I was on my way to grabbing a taxi to the convention center. 

Once I’d made it through registration and to the Atlas Systems booth I found out about a Copyright session that was about to start…ALL the way at the other end of the convention center, of course. I made it just in time to see Collette Mak (University of Notre Dame) and Cindy Kristof (Kent State University) along with several other colleagues in their “I am Not a Lawyer: Providing Copyright Services in Libraries” session. Isn’t that the truth! So often library staff are called upon for copyright advice. In this session, folks shared how they deal with providing patrons the copyright information they need and not the copyright advice they want.

After that I headed back to the Atlas Systems booth where I was able to chat with several customers. My time in the booth is my favorite part of my work at ALA conferences. Seeing people in person who I usually only get to know over email and the phone is so much fun. In fact, I was so busy connecting with people that I forgot to take photos!

By the time the exhibit floor closed there was just enough time to rush back to the hotel, finally get into a room and then walk to Timothy O’Tooles where we were holding our Ares User Group Meeting. We’d booked a whole room just for the Ares folks and it was a great setting to talk about what everyone has been up to lately. I think you can see from the two photos I managed to grab that we had a great turnout for this dinner meeting.  Although I tried to get around to talk with everyone, even after a few hours I still couldn’t quite manage it. I wish I’d thought to get photos with everyone there, but my mind was on all the cool stuff sites are doing and I didn’t even think about it!

Genie gave a brief overview of what’s coming next with Ares and we told everyone to mark their calendars for the 2017 Ares Virtual Conference, which will be held the week after Thanksgiving. Some folks have already told me they have ideas for possible presentations, which is fantastic! I look forward to hearing more proposals soon—so let me know if you’re interested in presenting. We love having several sites share what they’re up to at that annual virtual event.

As for getting the Ares user community together in person, we can definitely call the 2017 Ares User Group meeting a rousing success. Stay tuned for details on where our next meeting will be held.

After a few hours of sleep (very few), I was back at the booth as the exhibit floor opened on Sunday. This time I tried to make sure to grab some photos! 

For example, a selfie of me, ready to chat on the Exhibit Floor!

I got to see Joe Ellison (Northwestern University) and we chatted about ArchivesSpace.

Mary Radnor (Fort Hays State University) stopped by to chat about Patron Driven Acquisitions. We originally met when she was at the University of Chicago.

And Todd Peters (Texas State University) stopped by to chat for a moment. He had been working recently with Shawn Styer and me on a recent project and it was great to get to meet him in person!

At 11am Sunday I grabbed a taxi to the airport and was soon on my flight home to Virginia Beach, leaving behind the skyscrapers of Chicago for the shipyards of Hampton Roads, VA. I snapped this photo of a huge ship in dry dock at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard as my plane got close to home. 

And now I’m back at my desk in Virginia Beach, busy working with sites from all over the world via emails, phone calls and GoToMeeting sessions. I definitely adore the traveling and getting to meet and talk with our customers face-to-face, but it’s also good to be home. Hope to see you next time!