Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Minneapolis - Day One

We arrived around 10:30am, grabbed our bags, and headed toward hotels. There were nine of us on the plane, and Leadership team rented a seven-passenger van. Despite all that room, only the five that were actually members of our "executive management" chose to take the van. Two others took a cab, and my roomie and I (a colleague from my old branch in Garner) chose the very inexpensive train option. $1.50 later we were downtown, and three blocks from there, we were in the warmth of a building (right after passing the famous statues of Mary Tyler Moore tossing up her hat).

It's actually not as cold as I imagined it would feel, and Minneapolis has been kind enough and ingenious enough to develop a skyway system (which my roomie and I affectionately call the habitrail). Our walk to the conference center equals about six blocks, but we pass through various office buildings AND Macy's mens' department on the way. It's not a bad little journey, and there is no need to go outside at all. In fact, when we head in for the day, we'll probably not even take jackets.

Today is a fairly light schedule. At 10:30, Nancy Pearl (the only celebrity librarian I know of) is speaking along with several publishers about new books coming out. That lets out at noon, and the formal opening session is at 2:30. The vendors don't even open their doors until 4pm. So we've had time to peruse the schedule of events (set to be far more hectic after today) and plan our attack, plus we've been able to relax and enjoy the city a bit.

We hit the Mall of America last night, but spent most of our time at a restaurant. The amusement park inside has recently been redone (although I have never seen it before... so it was all new to me anyway). The theme has changed from Snoopy/Peanuts to Nickelodeon. Athena would love it. We didn't have a chance to explore it, but the train goes there, so we may go back on Saturday once the sessions are finished. We'll see.

I'm going to dial into work and get through some emails now before Nancy hits the stage.

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