Subject: Electronic Postcard #3

Hi everyone,

Well, another ALA conference is in the books.  Paid attendance was
over 12,000, and if you count exhibitors and exhibits-only pass
holders, 22,000 people participated.  The biggest disappointment for
me was that, unlike 1992, they did not have the $10/10-minute massage
vendors at the convention center.

In my last few days here, I've moved to a less expensive hotel -- the
Cartwright Hotel, which is four blocks to the north and $35 a night
cheaper than the other one.  This place is decent enough -- another
refurbished older building owned by the same group that owns my last
hotel, the Monticello Inn.  My room has a view of the Powell St. cable
car line (which loses a bit of its charm when you realize that these
horrendously noisy contraptions will be rumbling past your window well
after midnight).  I do have self-service ice now, but fewer cable
channels on the TV.  There are fewer panhandlers in this neighborhood.

I've been trying to cram as much as I can into what little time I have
left here.  I managed to show up at both the San Francisco Museum of
Modern Art and the Exploratorium science museum on the day of the
month they let people in for free, (thank you to sponsors Charles
Schwab & Co. and Bank of America).  Unfortunately, I've been
practically running through these and other places, and giving them
only a fraction of the attention they deserve.  I wish I had more
time, but then again, I'd probably just find more places to visit if I

So in conclusion...  These conferences are always thrilling and
rewarding events for me.  As I almost mentioned previously, my first
ALA conference was in San Francisco, so this trip has brought back a
lot of memories for me.  And I've had a great deal of fun watching
other people experience their first ALA.  I think one of the greatest
benefits of these conferences is the boost your professional self-
esteem gets.  Every librarian knows what it's like to constantly
struggle to get other people to understand what you do and appreciate
the value of your work.  But when you do ALA, it's like visiting an
alternative universe.  Everywhere you look, you are surrounded by
library people.  You are catered to by vendors.  And people come to
_you_ to tell you what a valuable service you provide to society and
what a difference you make in people's lives.

If you've ever thought of going to one, I recommend that you do.

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