My kind of town, Chicago is

Written by: Marie C.


American Library Association Conference 2013

Our library marketing associate Marie C. just returned from the annual ALA conference. Here's her take on the conference, the librarians, and why she can't wait for the next one.


Everyone told me that Chicago is particularly beautiful in June, so I was pretty excited to get a taste of the Windy City at the Annual American Library Association Conference. It certainly didn’t disappoint.

I lugged my suitcase through the Blackhawk Stanley Cup Parade on the way to my hotel and the spirit of the crowd completely revived me after a long, hot day of traveling. I was ready to chat with some librarians! After checking in and getting changed, it was time to get down to business. I took the shuttle to McCormick Place and beheld our booth.

For the first time in years, we had a prime location: a corner lot right at the entrance! The booth was looking good—with clear signs proclaiming Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Books Online, Cambridge Journals Online, and more! The goodies were out, the haiku board was up, and the key reference works were aesthetically arranged. We watched as the crowd of librarians grew around the entrance in anticipation of snagging some great giveaways, learning about a myriad of new resources for their libraries, and getting to know one another; and sure enough at 5:30 on the dot they came flooding in!

Our colorful and creative haiku contest (“What do you love about being a librarian?”) lured the librarians to our booth. In what seemed like a really surreal moment, a jazz band marched by as one of our first visitors was writing her short poem. I actually can’t believe how poetic everyone was—in fact, their job descriptions should read “librarian/poet” or “poet librarian” or “po-brarian” or “libet”. The haiku contest was so fun and different for us that it attracted people from all over the world—from the Philippines to Nigeria to South America and more—and from different ages and backgrounds—kids, K-12 librarians, academics, and public librarians all shared a piece of their poetic pie with us, and in turn, it gave us a chance to let more people know about what Cambridge has to offer.

While I can’t include every haiku entered in this post, I can certainly mention some:

“In a sylvan glade
Under stars and glowing moon
Nature was my book” – UCSD eBook coordinator H. Colson

“Sitting with a book
Whose words make me laugh, then cry,
I want to stay there.” – U Penn Head of Resource Sharing E. Batista

“Only place to be
You or me, they, we or thee—
It’s the library” – Yale University T. Barr

“Locust swarms return
Every seventeen years—
Undergrads, each fall” — USF Health ETL Developer B. Ostrowsky

And that’s just to name a few! I had a great time talking to all the different librarians about our print and digital offerings, watching the sales reps do their thing during live demos, and holding down the booth as my colleagues went to important meetings and presentations. I even got the chance to walk through the exhibits to see what other publishers had to offer to the attendees, and all I have to say is that ALA is definitely a treasure trove of valuable information, awesome new books, and sweet giveaways. No wonder everyone walking by looked so happy! I can’t wait to do it all again next year in Vegas.

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About the Author: Marie C.

Marie is a library marketing associate in Cambridge's New York office. Follow her @cambridgelib....

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