July 3, 2006
A View from the Stacks: While The Director Is Away…
Is it true that when you walk through the door to an AALL conference reception, they just hand you a large duffel bag emblazoned with some publishing company’s name on it, filled with all sorts of vendor fare weighing roughly 85 lbs.? Or is this some vicious rumor spread in the hopes of making those of us who walk around the aisles at supermarkets looking for free samples, jealous?
For those of you who have not read your last 5 issues of AALL’s Spectrum, the AALL conference is rapidly approaching. Swooping down on St. Louis in the next two weeks, law librarians from all over the country will be converging on the city that boasts the Anheuser-Busch factory and a structure that can only be described as one-half of an overlarge McDonald’s arch. Since I cannot be there to enjoy it this time, I was going to live vicariously through those I know and ask them to go places for me (like the Schafly Brewpub and any of these Candy Shops). This, I felt, would make me feel like I was there, in absentia, and that I was not missing out on all the fun.
So, what will those of us left behind do while you are all away?
Good question. And I am here to share some insight (if you work at my library, and are me).
On the first day of the conference, staff members will grumble about the reduced number of people available to staff the reference desk. At some point, talk will turn to "closing the library for the rest of the day and going out to enjoy the afternoon." This threat will not be acted on, but it will lead to some moments of pontificating, and the eventual acceptance of the fact that we can stick out the day. Also, someone will buy candy as a "perk up." We will, at this point, declare that no one who is at AALL will share in any left over candy (which is fine because it is the summer and everyone seems to be on the new South Beach/Zone/Weight Watchers diet anyway).
Day 2 will be much like day 1, only this time the conversation about closing the library will include dreams about going out for drinks. In the afternoon! How rebellious could it get? Of course, this will only lead us thirsty to buy a Diet Coke out of a vending machine and work out our rebel side by reading a gossip blog without feeling the need to be on the look out for the director. Somehow, this will lead to "virtual shopping", but in the end, we will return to our cart of mail or whatever reference question we have yet to complete.
Day 3 will be exactly the same as the previous 2 days, only this time, we may read gossip blogs for an even longer period of time. And possibly buy something from amazon.com. Perhaps feeling guilty, we will then return to our work and chide our selves for having our newly purchased goods sent to our work address. However, this guilt will pass and we will try to finish eating all the candy before the "others" (as we refer to them at this point) return. By the end of the day, threats of drinks will turn into an actual decision to go out for drinks after work. It will be at the nearby bar where we place bets on how many pens and thermoses the "others" will have in their possession when they return.
Day 4 will witness the return of some librarians from the conference, which will lead to the eventual "no really, how many pens did you get?" conversation. It will also be on this day that someone in the library will win the bet placed the previous night at the bar. Of course, we will also want to know what programs they attended and who they saw, but we will try not to act too interested. We will also try and refrain from discussing celebrity gossip (well, try at least).
In other words, we will have some fun of our own.
Editor's Note: Finding myself with nothing to do on Day One (or is it Day Two?), I will stop by the Schafly Brewpub on my way back from the President Casino on the Admiral riverboot, assuming I have enough money left to buy a pint. I'll even pick up a t-shirt from the casino for you (Stina, not all you other youz). That's right, knowing what a wild bunch we law librarians are, the casino's crafty marketing staff is offering free t-shirts July 10, 11 & 12! [JH]
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