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ALA Midwinter Reflections

Post by Duncan Smith
Posted February 04, 2013 in Readers' Advisory News

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Now that we’re home and embedded back into the swing of our daily lives, the remnants of what we took away from Midwinter inevitably settle into our thoughts like dust on a book jacket.

This year’s Midwinter was full, affirming, and inspiring. I and the rest of the NoveList team that attended truly enjoyed exploring Seattle during our brief times between forums, receptions, luncheons, and presentations. The events we attended were varied and informative, but more importantly gave us something we could bring home that wouldn’t affect the weight of our suitcases.

Something sure to stick with me is the audible gasp that emerged from the audience when I suggested during a NoveList presentation: “Readers matter more than libraries.” No matter which side of that debate you, as a librarian, fall on, it sparks an important conversation about the nature of the relationship between librarian and patron.

Another hot topic at Midwinter this year, no doubt influenced by the recent release of the Pew study “Library Services in the Digital Age”, was the fact that many patrons and potential patrons are not aware of the variety of resources available at the library. This is particularly interesting in conjunction with the conversation about librarian-patron relationships.

Perhaps my proudest moment of Midwinter was learning that our very own NextReads team won the Louis Shores Award for excellence in book reviewing. I was thrilled to see all of their hard work and dedication nationally recognized, and look forward to what the future has in store for NextReads.

I remain excited and inspired by everything I took home with me from Midwinter, and I know I’m not alone. For now we are left with our own personal retrospective to mull and let simmer. At least, until we meet again in Chicago.