This was probably the worst ALA I have been to so far. The few sessions that seemed remotely useful were held during my committee meetings, which I was obligated to attend. The few sessions I was able and interested in going to were just not useful. Perhaps it’s because I am a recent library school graduate, and I’ve had more recent and dynamic conversations about these topics. Perhaps it’s because I read a lot of library blogs and really keep up with trends in libraries. Perhaps it’s because I’m a younger person and these “trends” and “new things” are just a part of my everyday life.
But I do have to give credit to one session I did enjoy, on embedded librarianship. Most of the info was pretty standard, and practices that I already use, but some of the tips were pretty helpful. Something interesting I hadn’t thought about before is formatting text on web pages. I know how to make a page look clean and snazzy, but one of the librarians noted the importance of using the standard format headings and subheadings for your pages. Why? Because it makes the page much easier to navigate for visually impaired users. Visually impaired users do not have the advantage of seeing the different sizes, fonts, colors, and styles of text on the page – they depend on a page reader to read the text to them. What I didn’t know is that these readers indicated to the user what text is the heading, subheading, caption, body, etc. When you format your own headings, visually impaired users cannot tell the difference between headings and body. It’s not something I had ever learned or had to think about it, but now it’s definitely something I’ll remember when making new pages.
Anaheim itself – awful. I had thought Dallas was pretty boring, but at least the food there was edible and reasonably priced. The best meal I had in Anaheim was from the Taco Bell on my way out on the last day. The hospitality and service industry in Anaheim was the worst I have ever encountered. There seems to be a culture of bad service and rudeness, probably cultivated by the years of guaranteed business from Disneyland. My theory is that the restaurants and hotels in Anaheim do not have to provide good service to their customers in order to generate business. Disneyland will always bring the business to them, and the restaurants and hotels probably don’t have to fight very hard to maintain their companies. Very sad. Unless I have a very compelling reason to attend, I will most likely not go to another ALA in Anaheim.