ALA Saturday from the perspective of an ACRL Section Chair

Today was the first of two WSS-heavy days. Starting at 10:30 was the WSS Leadership Orientation, a meeting for incoming and outgoing section officers and committee chairs. It’s a time for folks to pass on tips and tricks about how to work in the section, play nice with ACRL, and to meet with their incoming/outgoing counterpart to pass on wisdom. I think I freaked out the incoming vice-chair of the section a little bit with my random rambling about all the things she’d be doing over the next two years… I’ll have to call her after the conference and let her know that sometimes I just get a little overworked and that she shouldn’t take me at face value. 🙂

Lunched solo in the Starbucks in the hotel, when Amy and I talked and she let me know that my little beastie had been hurt, but that she will be okay. Long story, and maybe I’ll tell it later. But yeah, lunch was sad.

Then at 1:30 some folks gathered for the annual WSS/COSWL/FTF meeting. It’s normally scheduled for an hour, but thanks to the wacky ALA time slots, it was 2 hours this year. *grumble* I think that scared away some people. We ended up finishing a little after an hour anyway. BUT the meeting was a good one – the folks from FTF and COSWL talked a lot about the work their groups do and can do and can’t do, and I talked about the types of things WSS does. As it turns out, COSWL was the group behind ALA’s stance on Alito during his confirmation hearings (ALA was against confirming him). Being a committee of the ALA Council, like COSWL is, means that they can really affect some policy changes when they put their minds to it. I spent some time talking with the current chair, and think that in a few years, when I’m ready to jump back into ALA work, I might look to COSWL as a place to put some energies. Interesting stuff. After we all talked about our groups, we had a wide-ranging discussion on work/family issues that affect women library workers. It was good!

KB and I headed outside for a while to warm up (hey, the hotels are frigid here!) before the WSS General Membership meeting. This year’s meeting was better attended than some others lately, which was heartening. The usual flow of the meeting is for us to all introduce ourselves and talk about what role we might play in the section, then the committee chairs all talk about the work of the committees (which was different this time, since this is the first time we’ve had this meeting before the All-Committees meeting). After that there’s the round-robin of open positions in academic libraries and announcements about goings-on on campuses related to women’s studies (new majors, new departments, department name changes, etc.) We talked about a few things that came up on the WSS-L list recently – namely the differences and strengths and weaknesses of two full-text women’s studies databases – GenderWatch and CWI. Then we talked about how many departments are changing their names from women’s studies to women and gender studies, or simply gender studies. Did the section have any feeling about that, and did folks feel like the name of the section was working? That conversation fascinated me – many programs are women’s studies, but include gender and LGBT studies within then, while others have separate women’s and sexuality studies programs, and iteration after iteration. I don’t think that there was any pressing desire by anyone who spoke up to change the name of the section, but I suspect it’ll come up more seriously in a few years or longer.

Then a bunch of us tromped on over to our social hour location, the Bridge Lounge at 1201 Magazine St. On the walk there, I was a bit nervous. We were in what appeared to be a *very* quiet section of the Warehouse District – as in, nothing was open, there were a lot of boarded up places, etc. We finally got to the place, walked in, and were treated to a wonderful location, beautiful interior, dogs on leash with their humans, fair drink prices, very little cigarette smoke, friendly bartenders, and enough room for us all to sit and talk comfortably in a big group of small groups. The only downside? No food. BUT the friendly bartender whipped out the delivery menu of a close-by place, and we ordered a couple of pizzas for the group. Very fun! After a couple of hours of catching up with friends, meeting new people, and laughing until our faces hurt, six of us die-hards finally closed up the WSS Social and headed back to the French Quarter. Four of them headed for dinner, one went back to her lodging, and I headed to my hotel for a shower, a write-up, and prep for my meetings tomorrow, in that order. Which means it’s time for me to sign off and get ready. Ta!

[tags]ALA 2006, WSS, New Orleans[/tags]