Friday, June 29, 2007

ALA Wrap-Up

Some final thoughts on ALA before I move on to other topics:

-Freadom has a brief report with pictures on Saturday's Cuban library protest.

-To echo a point Steven Bell made on the Library Journal web site two years ago, does every guest speaker have to go on about how librarians are the most wonderful people ever? I'm not even talking in this instance about the political aspect, just the non-stop pandering about the virtues of librarians and librarianship. Perhaps I'm as cynical as I am alienated, but it just got really tiresome. Affirmation and recognition are nice, but are we really that insecure as a profession that we need to be groveled to?

-Allow me to express my thanks to the Cato Institute for an excellent open house on Sunday evening. There were refreshments, and a chance to listen to P.J. O'Rourke make some brief remarks. After sitting through 75 minutes of RFK Jr., O'Rourke's wit and common sense came as a much needed relief. The event culminated with a free book signing featuring O'Rourke and four other CATO authors. Again, a highly enjoyable event.

-Speaking of RFK Jr., you can read the Cognotes summary of his speech here (link in PDF). In my summary, I forgot to mention his closing comment. Here is how Cognotes describes it:

He brought the audience to their feet by concluding, “We cannot let this gang of thugs take [our ideals] away from us and our children.”

No, in case you're wondering, the "gang of thugs" in question is not the leadership of al Qaeda or Iran, but rather the duly elected administration of the United States.

-Contrarian raises a question regarding my criticizing ALA President Leslie Burger for inviting Kennedy to speak:

Did Leslie Burger choose Kennedy or was it a committee who chose him? Either way it sounds like a bad speech, but I'm not sure the President of ALA chooses the speakers.

A fair question. However, I think I'm justified in holding Leslie Burger responsible for the decision to invite Kennedy. For one thing, the speech was billed as the "ALA President's Program". ALA's own event description invites the reader to "(j)oin ALA President Leslie Burger as she welcomes Robert F. Kennedy, Jr." Finally, Burger did in fact introduce Kennedy at the speech. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that Ms. Burger had at least some role in selecting Kennedy as the conference keynote speaker.

Finally, I want to thank Greg McClay for linking to my updates and encouraging his readers to come visit.


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