Yesterday was fabulous here. My morning session was a "Book Buzz" session where I learned about lots of new stuff coming out direct from publishers. Apparently, there are opportunities to get lots of free stuff including Advanced Reading Copies in the exhibit hall, but I don't do well in crowds and I hate begging for free stuff, so I chose to hit the exhibits late enough that crowds thinned and I could actually talk to any vendors there that I actually might want to speak with. I only hit about one sixth of the room... I'll get to the rest over the remainder of the conference.
By far the unexpected highlight of the day was the keynote speech from John Wood, an ex-Microsoft executive turned philanthropist. His organization is Room to Read. Go give them all your money. Seriously. At least see what they do. It's nothing short of saintly. And I am not easily impressed.
We ended the day at The News Room... a good restaurant/bar downtown, where almost the whole contingent from my library system met up with almost the whole Durham County contingent. Unfortunately, we mostly sat with our own folk, which didn't lend to much idea sharing, but it was a nice meal, regardless. At the very least, I was able to talk to the person who approves all conference attendance for our system about going to DragonCon this year, and she reacted very favorably. YAY!
Today was when the real intense sessions began. My first session was about recommending books to teens, the second was about modern library design, and then I had lunch with Pauline and Arthur Frommer (of the famous travel guides). Well, me and about 500 of my closest friends...
By now, it was 2pm, and I tried to make it through a session on dealing with Law Enforcement requests (Patriot Act, Intellectual Freedom, and what to do when someone waves a subpeona in your face). It is stuff I really need to know, but the legal-ese and the repetition of phrases and of course the post-lunch slump did me in. I spent the rest of the day knocking out a killer headache, trolling another quarter of the exhibit hall, and coming back to the room. Once I post this, I'm off to check email.
I miss Chris and the kids terribly, and I haven't been able to talk to them much. The signal in the conference center has been touchy, and when I do call, Athena doesn't want to chat. Hopefully she misses me and will welcome me back into the house... but I imagine she's pretty much taken over for me in my absense.