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10 observations from the Public Library Association convention

March 14, 2014
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Librarians from around the country converged on the Indiana Convention Center this week for the Public Library Association's national convention.

Here's a few things I observed after an all-too-brief visit to the exhibit hall.

1. Sometimes, the most interesting entertainers/speakers in town are for not-open-to-the-public events such as this. The lineup for the PLA con includes David Sedaris, Jane Pauley, Richard Ford and Anne Patchett (turns out the best-selling author is also a bookstore owner).

2. While literature is important, romance novels, manga books, SAT prep guides, etc., require just as much librarian attention.

3. Apparently, shelving is a big deal, too.

4. Public libraries across the country serve more than 297 million people annually, or more than 96% of the U.S. population. OK, so some of them are just coming in for free DVD rentals, but still.

5. Circulations of items is on the rise. But those items aren't just books.

6. Librarians are very good at avoiding eye contact with the people staffing the L. Ron Hubbard booth.

7. Librarians love love love John Green.

8. "The Chuck Norris Fact Book" exists.

9. Laptopsanytime.com has a system that allows you to check out computers from kiosks the same way you borrow DVDs from Redbox. And whole companies exist that focus on creating library cards.

10. I don't read enough.

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