Saturday, July 3, 2010

How the ALA kicked my A$$ Into Shape

I’ve been home from the ALA national conference for two full days and I can’t bring myself to do a thing but catch up on season two of “True Blood” from NetFlix. The conference sucked the life out of me faster than Eric Northman on pretty fangbanger. I have no idea how to recover. Never have I ever been more overwhelmed by literature. Forget AA, I need ALA-A. My name is Meredith, and I am an American Library Association addict.

Before leaving Florida, I had developed a schedule outlining each and every meeting, workshop, and author signing that I had an interest in attending. There was little time for bathroom breaks or lunches, which was probably a big mistake but I was determined to make the best of it and secure myself a job. My email to the ALA career counselor had returned saying that she was already booked, so now I had to add ‘Stalk career counselor by hanging around job placement center for chance run-in’ on the schedule, which was really putting a time crunch on the “Dewey the Library Cat” author signing. I secretly hoped people were over that cat by now and could therefore knock out that signing in minutes. Oh the stress! Cute cat in library vs. me getting career advice that I so desperately need. What to do?

So I stupidly went for the cat book but was first in line and was then able to stalk the career counselor for the extra twenty minutes I had originally blocked out for cat lady. Career counselor was nice but didn’t say anything of real importance so probably a waste of time. That, or I talked too much again and can’t remember what she advised me to do. Dangitt! Make note - don’t need career counselor, need muzzle.

Since I was already in the ALA Job Placement Center, I decided to try and speak with the seven recruiters who looked bored off their asses in their booths. Wow, how unprofessional of me. Did I not learn anything from the counselor? I meant to say, who all looked leisurely and welcoming in their career stations. Another waste of time - nobody was hiring entry-level librarians! If that wasn’t bad enough, they seemed upset that we were the only people who seemed to be inquiring! Gee, I wonder why. Maybe because most of the upper management had jobs that could afford to send them to DC for the conference, which they instead used to go on Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” tour thus skipping the conference entirely.

Not to worry, I did get plenty of “I would happy to take your resume and put it on file.” Can we stop saying this, people? There is no file. You know it. We know it. Besides, we are just killing more trees by all of this pretending. For once I wish someone would just say, “Go back to waiting tables, you’d have better luck.” Then I wouldn’t have to continue to carry my heavy work portfolio around in my trendy briefcase in the hopes that someone would be interested in looking over my bookmarks tied to Banned Book Week or my table display ideas for sexy seniors. Let’s just say I got more compliments on the hat I was wearing than I did on the head full of library knowledge that was wearing it. Don’t get me wrong. I am all about fashion, but how cool is my hat going to be when I am wearing it on the streets mumbling cataloguing codes or classifying my shopping cart full of free books. I need a job!

I don’t want to place all the blame of my exhaustion and insanity on the free books given away in the exhibit hall or the lack of leads from the placement center, as I’m sure there were certainly other reasons. Specifically, my diet of iced coffee and carrot sticks. After spending the week before in NYC, where I was eating everything in sight, I felt a real need to ignore the overpriced, unimpressive edibles available to us at the conference center and instead hit Whole Foods to fill my backpack with healthy alternatives that included celery, grape tomatoes, and a small container of hummus. The daily workout of carrying twenty pounds of books from the expo to the Metro and up a steep hill to my friend’s apartment also helped with my cardio and weight training, which is why I was able to drop any weight I gained in NYC in no time at all.

Now I am only an out-of-work librarian, so please check with your doctor before you starve yourself for free books, but I say look at the positives, people. I may not have a job but I am looking better than ever – thanks ALA!