I didn't go to the ALA Annual Conference this year, a decision I made based on its location in Anaheim. I wasn't going to bother making a whole blog post complaining about it, but then I saw the Annoyed Librarian's post, and thought at the very least I'd do a "What she said."
I didn't go and think it was an incredibly stupid place to hold a conference because of
- the car thing
Or as AL put it, "20,000 librarians without cars go to a "city" dominated by--cars! They got this one just right. Anaheim is incredibly pedestrian-unfriendly, but I suppose the bloated Disney tourists like it that way. As a pedestrian, it was a terrible experience. Long blocks with no shade. Everything made longer because of all the parking lots. Long waits at crosswalks because the 58 lanes of traffic all had to go first. The morons in the cars didn't even seem aware that there were such things as pedestrians."
- the food thing/ambiance
The first listing on Library Journal's restaurant recommendations is a fast food chain.
That should be enough said, but per AL, "area surrounding Disneyland and the convention center is the most culturally barren wasteland I've visited since once being stuck in a small town in North Carolina..." (I really can't imagine NC was worse!)
Basically, you can't get anywhere under your own steam (on foot or via public transport), and even if you could, there's no where to go.
- the carbon footprint thing
I'm just not flying around like I used to. Of course I can't expect ALA to always be near all of its members, but unless I've got something really important to contribute to a far away conference, I'm not going. Okay, this reason doesn't fit in with why it was so stupid for ALA to meet in Anaheim. There are a ton of California and other west coast members. But it was still a factor for me.
A while ago on the ALA Council list someone suggested that ALA should meet only in Chicago, New York and San Francisco, and then someone else added in New Orleans. I'm for that, but maybe switch New York and Philadelphia, since the latter is cheaper.
The good news is, ALA Annual will meet in Anaheim again in 2012. Ugh--and Las Vegas in 2014. Seriously, is that what librarians want? Future conference schedule.
Please, did we learn nothing from Miami and Orlando?