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ALA at its best

The city of Seattle was a bright, welcoming place today and everyone seems positively to welcome these thousands of librarians and their accompanying spouses and all the companies that depend on them. And things have gone smoothly for us, thanks to wonderful ALA people like Patrick Murphy, who runs the exhibits and actually escorted us to our little booth. Patrick and I met last year in Beijing and that makes for quite a bond! We’re well-placed, by our old friends at Sage and not far from some of the big distributors we’re beginning to work with. The serendipity of meetings was quite wonderful, with new contacts for China projects and sustainability. All the librarians are thrilled by The Libraries We Love. One stood at the table and looked through the entire book. We’re just amazed no one has done this before and I spent some time this morning outlining the changes to make for an international edition, a book that will celebrate one of America’s greatest gifts to the world.

I had lunch with Nancy Kranich, past president of ALA and one of the book’s editors, I relived the project’s origins in our mutual interest in the library’s role in communities, and its unique role as a public place. How wonderful to think of this concept spreading around the world, as it has. We also talked about the potential there is for libraries to have a new role in local knowledge networks, something Dave Pollard writes about in his article for the new Against the Grain, “From Collection to Connection.” The issue’s out–or at least I got my first copy today–and I’ll be sharing more from it here.

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