Saturday, April 2, 2011

library conferences galore

Last year, I had a fabulous time at the Empire State Book Festival. It was the event's first year, and it's Albany's moment to shine in literary circles. One day a year, writers, librarians, bloggers and book lovers make the trip to Albany from New York City and around the northeast. As someone who spends a lot of time advocating how fantastic Albany is, it breaks my heart to miss the festival this year. The worst part: my new apartment is mere steps away from the Empire State Plaza. It's the one day a year I can walk out my front door and arrive at a state-wide book festival in two minutes, and I'm out of town.

Where am I? I'm in Philadelphia for the ACRL conference (Association of College and Research Libraries). ACRL only holds its conference every two years, and it's my first time attending. As a new academic librarian currently seeking permanent, full-time employment, the choice was easy: ACRL.

And I'm having a fantastic time in Philadelphia. I've had some fantastic meals. I've met wonderful people. I've spent time with one of my best friends. I've been inspired professionally and personally. I'm incredibly career-focused right now, and it's been an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience. These are my people. Being surrounded by enthusiastic, creative and successful academic librarians is amazing.

I wish I could do both. I'm an academic librarian and literary fiction blogger. Despite what some non-bookish people may think, these two parts of my life are completely separate (except when the lovely folks at interlibrary loan get me books not published in the U.S. to review here). I get satisfaction from both, but I only make a living for doing one of them. I spend a lot of time on this blog, and I enjoy it. I love to read, and I love to write (and talk) about what I read almost as much (and sometimes more, as evidenced by my enjoyment of reading prize lists that may include books I don't really like.) Book blogging has brought me into contact with authors at a level I never imagined (and I spent college working at an independent bookstore that hosted amazing signings--ahem, J.K. Rowling included.) I've found other enthusiastic, extroverted readers. Reading doesn't have to be a solitary activity, and book blogging has made my reading life incredibly public and immensely more gratifying.

For those of who are in Albany today for the Empire State Book Festival: enjoy my adopted hometown. I wish I were there to welcome you and show you around the city I've called home for the past three years and come to truly love.


  1. I can totally understand the choice you made to go to Phillie -- here's hoping some job prospects come out of it :)
    I don't know much about the Albany festival, but the weather there today is supposed to be fairly nice I think; don't know if they got much snow from the april fool's day storm...
    Hope you enjoy your weekend!

  2. I think you made the right choice as well. I also am so gratified and fulfilled by the changes that blogging has brought into my life. Try as I may, I know a lot of people in real life don't take it very seriously, but the benefits I get from being able to discuss books and read all the time, and the incredible friends I have made is worth every minute I put into it. I am glad to hear you feel the same!

  3. It's a shame you are missing such a great conference. I seem to have bad luck with these things also. For the third year in a row I will have to miss the LA Times Book Festival because I will be in Germany for my work.


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