It's time to pack up all my stuff, including all the paper attending a conference seems to generate, and head back to Montevallo. It's been a good conference, and I'm bringing back a lot of new information that I hope we'll be able to use at Carmichael Library.
Now that ALA is leaving New Orleans, I wonder what the city will be like in our wake. We know, for one thing, that several of the area libraries are in much better shape because of the volunteer efforts and donations of ALA members and library vendors. Library Journal, for example, worked to raise funds and procured the services of a leading library architect to make over one of the branches of New Orleans Public that was severely damaged by Katrina. But there are also people such as the workers at the Convention Center who will soon be without a job unless other large conventions come to town.
One of the interesting ways in which a major event enters the popular culture is through t-shirts, and the French Quarter shops are filled with hurricane-related ones. Many of the slogans on these cannot be repeated in a public blog, an indication of the anger and bitterness many in the city still feel toward FEMA and their government officials. The t-shirt I bought celebrates ALA's arrival in the city. It reads: Librarians Do It By the Book: American Library Association: Supporting the Big Easy.
Several people have told me how much it meant to them for ALA to be here, and they've thanked me for coming. Each time, I have told them that it has genuinely been my pleasure.
See you back home.