Subject: Electronic Postcard #2

Hi everyone,

Greetings again from San Francisco, site of the ALA Annual Conference. 
There is much to take in here -- 1300 vendors in the exhibit halls,
and often several meetings or programs that you'd like to attend in
progress at the same time.  I haven't had a great deal of luck in
sitting through an entire program during this conference -- I'll catch
part of one, and then when that's over I'll go to another hotel to
join another one in progress.  I've been concentrating on the
technologically oriented programs, and I must say I'm finding fresh
inspiration to explore the hot new applications.  Some programs were
so popular that I actually got turned away from a couple of them (for
the first time that I can remember) because the room was too full.

Another diversion for your attention is the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
and Transgendered Pride Celebration Parade, which was held on
Sunday.  You couldn't help but notice it if you were trying to move
between conference venues -- it ran up Market St., separating the
Moscone Center to the south from many of the hotels to the north.  I
didn't really see much of the parade, being a not very tall person
myself.  But you didn't need to see the actual parade to be
entertained, as many of the spectators and other people along the
route were spectacularly and outlandishly dressed -- men in drag, men
and women in leather and chains, accentuating and even exposing parts
of the human body not normally seen on a city street.  I took a break
between sessions and took the scenic route between the Sheraton Palace
and the Holiday Inn Union Square, using the surprisingly uncongested
underground BART station to get across the street.

Once I reached the Holiday Inn, I attended the "Outsourcing Book
Selection and Cataloging in Hawaii: A Critical Examination" program,
at which a panel of speakers primarily consisting of librarians in the
Hawaii State Public Library System described the problems they
experienced under the controversial contract with Baker & Taylor, in
which the company decides which materials to send to the libraries. 
Difficulties in dealing with the library system's administration and
complaints about how the ALA and other entities have dealt with the
issue were also discussed.  The audience was enthusiastically
supportive (well, except maybe for the B&T reps sitting quietly in the
front) and expressed admiration for a group of professional
librarians, working hard and taking risks by opposing their
administration in the interest of the quality of the collections and
the quality of service to their patrons.

In the evening was the reunion dinner of the U of H School of Library
and Information Studies at the New Pisa restaurant in the North Beach
section of the city.  It was a smaller gathering than 5 years ago --
with scheduling and other conflicts precluding the attendance of many
people who would otherwise be there.  I had a lot of fun, having a
chance to meet a lot of interesting people, and seeing a lot of people
who I haven't seen in years.  Also at the dinner were several current
SLIS students who were attending the conference as I did as a student
in '92.

Ralph Toyama                                           /      We now pause
Automation Librarian                                  /__      for station
University of Hawaii -- Leeward Community College       /  identification:  /   This is NH6PY/6