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Saturday, October 27, 2007

On the Road to "Internet Librarian"

I'm sitting at Gate C17 right now, Terminal 1, at O'Hare. I know frequent travellers find the whole airport drill a big pain in the boarding pass, but I confess, I'm still not immune to the thrill of air travel. I've never been in this airport when it wasn't bustling with life, noise, smells and sights. For a few dollars, I've got a wi-fi connection, a caesar salad and bagel for the flight, and most importantly for this fan of sugary beverages, I found the one guy in this terminal who sells Pepsi instead of Coke. Life is good for an Internet Librarian.

I say this because I, your Web Services Librarian at DPPL, am on my way to the Internet Librarian 2007 conference. While I've been to lots of library conferences, workshops and symposiums, I'm really excited about this event. At many library conferences, Web resources and technologies are either an afterthought, or relegated to one side track of the whole event. It's understandable - librarians, this one included, are still enamored of books, so gatherings of librarians tend to focus on publishers, authors, and the millions of ways we can share good things to read with our communities. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm curious about being plunged into a library conference full of bloggers, wiki-builders, Flickr devotees and YouTubers. I'm hoping to come away with inspiration on the best online services to bring to Des Plaines Public Library patrons. In particular, I'm also anxious to hear what's latest and greatest in Web design, since we're in the process of developing an entirely new Web site for you, our users.

But right now, I'm just on the way. Speaking of books, has a great book ever helped you through a long, LONG delay at ORD (or any airport - but it seems like most people who live and work in Des Plaines have had an experience at O'Hare)? While many of the people around me are finding electronic ways to kill the time (we're not delayed, just waiting to board), some still have their noses deep in books, magazines, newspapers. I've got a book, God & Empire by John Dominic Crossan, for the flight, as well as the latest copy of British music magazine MOJO.

If you have any special memories of a wonderful book that made a long delay fly by, post the title here and share your story. Have you ever purchased a book at the airport and been pleasantly surprised? Tell us about it. I'll tell you more when I get to Internet Librarian, in the beautiful seaside community of Monterey, California.

How about that electric sign I saw at O'Hare - the one up above that claims an electronic reading device is "Sexier than a librarian"? I'm hoping the colleagues I meet on my trip prove those sign makers wrong!

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