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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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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