On Monday July 13th over 70 library professionals joined LTLS staff members on a bus trip to the American Library Association (ALA) 2009 Annual Convention in Chicago. We had a wide variety of libraries represented from locations around the state. The trip required two buses to accommodate the large group of guests from both Lincoln Trail Libraries System and Shawnee Library System. Some of the guests from Shawnee Library System made the trip to Champaign the night before so they would be sure not to miss the buses leaving from LTLS Headquarters at 7:00 a.m. on Monday morning. Our last group of guests from the Gilman-Danforth District Library were picked up on-route at the I-57 Gilman exit.
While we were riding to the convention I took the opportunity to talk with some of the attendees and learned a great deal about what the trip meant to them. Virgina Erickson, Center Coordinator of the Giertz Education Center at Krannert Art Museum, was looking forward to seeing what the vendors had on display as well as taking the opportunity to visit the new Education Information Resource Center at the Art Institute of Chicago. Janet Jenkins and Holly Gahillgar of the Robinson Community Unit School District #2 were looking forward to meeting some authors and had a friendly competition going to see which of them could get the most complementary materials for their library from the vendors. Eric Rittman, Media Director of the Villa Grove Community Unit School District #302, was one of the veteran ALA attendees on the trip. Eric has attended several ALA conventions over the past twelve years and enjoys the opportunity to meet with all the school library vendors. Clifford Harrison from Eastern Illinois University-Booth Library was on his first trip to an ALA convention and was very excited about the chance to network with so many other library professionals from around the world.
DEMCO provided our guests with the passes to the exhibit and the minute we arrived at the convention center everyone headed straight to the exhibition floor to find out what was new and see who had what they needed for their library. LTLS staff members who accompanied the attendees on the bus trip connected with other representatives from Lincoln Trail to find out what they had been learning in the programs they had been attending over the course of the convention. I created the following Animoto video of our photographs to give you an idea of the huge scale and up-beat mood of the event.
the trip home I asked more of the attendees what the exhibit meant to them. Sally Newberry, Director of the Gilman-Danforth District Library, closed the library for the day so that her entire staff could attend the event. She found the entire day inspiring and educational. Erica Buzicky, Library Assistant at the Mahomet Public Library District, is helping to look for furnishings for the new Mahomet library building and really enjoyed the chance to get a hands-on look at all the furniture. Jane Robertson, Ann West Lynsey District Library in Carterville was also on the lookout for new furnishing for a new library. Jane is one of the attendees from the Shawnee Library System who traveled to Champaign the night before the bus trip. Jane and her fellow staff members were truly grateful to LTLS for providing an affordable option for them to attend the event. They not only talked with vendors about furnishings for the new library but also negotiated some great discounts on books and Jane got to meet one of her favorite authors. All of which, she explained to me, would not have been possible without the LTLS trip to Chicago. I hope everyone who joined us enjoyed the trip.