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Alice Walker wore purple.
It was not the last official day of the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Chicago, but the McCormick Center’s auditorium had a kind of concluding air about it. (Perhaps it was the number of librarians carting luggage up and down the halls.) Eva Poole, President of the Public Library Association (PLA), introduced Monday’s midmorning speaker. The audience settled into its seats.
When she arrived at the podium, she sighed. “I’m so glad to see you.”
“The mixing of factual and counterfactual is not singular to sci fi and fantasy,” Timothy Zahn (“Thrawn Trilogy”) began. Zahn and Brandon Sanderson (“Mistborn”), Cory Doctorow (Homeland), David Brin (“Uplift”), Elizabeth Bear (Shattered Pillars), and John Scalzi (“Old Man’s War”) were charged with talking about the probable and improbable in science fiction (and, to a certain extent, in fantasy too). Organized by the Library and Information Technology Association and with help from Tor, the Saturday, June 28 panel was packed.
Sunday morning’s “In Visibility: Race and Libraries” was a crash course in sociology and libraries, taught by Todd Homna, assistant professor of Asian American Studies at Pitzer College and a former ALA Spectrum Scholar. Sponsored by ALA’s Office for Diversity and the Spectrum Scholars Program, asked the question: “Where do we locate race in relation to librarianship?”
What makes library Tumblrs different from your run-of-the-mill library blogs is that they can take advantage of a built-in community with built-in readers. If a Wordpress or Blogspot blog is an island, Tumblr blogs are a city. Many librarians were initially attracted to Tumblr for the same reasons nonlibrarians were—ease of use, social features, the cool factor. But, once they arrived, they began to run into each other, then to talk to with one another, and finally to understand themselves as a community. The portmanteau Tumblarians—meaning “Tumblr librarians”—was coined and a subculture born.
Library Journal’s 2013 Day of Dialog ended with a table lined with familiar faces: Amy Tan, with her first novel for adults since 2005′s Saving Fish from Drowning; Richard North Patterson, with a work narrated by a 22-year-old woman; Allan Gurganus, with his first book in 16 years; prolific critic Caleb Crain, with his first ever novel (though second book); Al Lamanda, with Sunrise (Gale Cengage, Aug.), the follow up to his Edgar-nominated Sunset; and of course Library Journal‘s own Barbara Hoffert as moderator.