The love that dare not speak its name

This makes my heart leap: The holy grail of independent booksellers, Powell’s City of Books:

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It doesn’t look like much, but this bookstore covers a full city block. More than one million used and new books meticulously arranged, nine colour-coded rooms with 3500 different sections, a rare book room , coffee shop, author events and art exhibits.

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Overexited librarian performing unlicensed “hyllerydding”:

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Being a “book lover” has for some reason become synonymous with  being old-fashioned and resistant to change. There is a certain irony in this. Books are agents of change, no matter what format they are in. I love books because I love to learn, and a certain misanthropic personality trait is tempered by the love of experiencing the world filtered through other people’s minds – expressed in books. Also: there is no democracy without dissemination of knowledge. Embrace it in all forms and formats.

 

 

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Portland

Healthy Living (actually, it’s all about doughnuts now):

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Fantastic public transport. TRIMET

Portland 2015 kamera 014Librarian juggling library instruction, collection development, collection maintenance, reference desk duty and Everything Else:

Portland 2015 kamera 039Beauty and

 

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Portland 2015 kamera 002“Green” plastic cow:

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In Transit

Portland 2015 017We left Gardermoen 08:00 Monday morning, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and arrived at our hotel in Portland 25 hours later, about ready for the morgue. The eight hour flight to NY went fine. We somehow got seated next to Sondre Lerche,which was a little odd, but I promptly showed him the Ultimate Norwegian Courtesy of completely ignoring him the whole trip. I only snuck a peek at what he was reading (Morgenbladet) purely out of professional duty.

The four hours at Newark airport were fine too. Of course, having to go through immigration, pick up our bags, stand in line for customs, transit to another terminal, recheck our bags and go through another security checkpoint was tiring, but there are ways to handle stress:

Portland 2015 014Sånd! No, not sand, Sånd. Well, actually, it is sand. But expensive! In tiny boxes! Apparently, if you “pull it, shape it, love it” it will relieve you of stress and anxiety. And “It won’t make a mess. Really, it won’t!”

For no apparent reason, me being a little ol’ lady and all, I was singled out for extra close inspection twice. First I was nearly tickled to death by an overly conscientious security officer in Oslo, then at Newark something suspicious in my carry-on caused a little commotion. I still don’t know what it was, but rubber gloves and a long stick was involved in the inspection. (Of my backpack, not of me!!)

The final United Airlines flight to Portland was bad beyond words. But we managed to crawl onto the train and off again downtown Portland, it was late, it was dark and it was raining as we dragged ourselves the last few blocks to the hotel. I had booked a small room for myself when I first decided to go, and then when my husband finally decided to tag along a couple of weeks ago I emailed them to ask for an upgrade. (Paid for privately I hasten to add). And boy did they upgrade.

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There’s a walk-in closet about the size of the rooms I usually stay in for a conference.

I generally try to stay clear of hotels recommended by conference organizers since they are often large, generic chain hotels, and in this instance quite expensive, so I was scouring ebookers for a bargain on a smaller hotel, in reasonable distance from the convention center. I like older hotels, even when they are a bit worse for wear, and if they are named something like “Grand”, “Majestic”, “Superior” or  “Royal”, they are almost invariably a bit smelly but interesting. So I chose Hotel deLuxe, which turned out to be quite and utterly lovely. We slept.

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Why?

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Yes, why? In a year that offers us BookExpo America in New York and the ALA Annual Conference in even more glorious San Francisco, why, oh why did I choose green, sustainable, community-oriented Portland? With its green, sustainable, community-themed ACRL Conference? Here’s why:

  1. The People. 3000 academic and research librarians from more than 25 countries gather at the ACRL conference in Portland. It’s a rare opportunity to learn from and interact with colleagues who are dealing with the same issues and challenges we are at UBO. Which brings us to:
  2. The Program. It just seemed so familiar. A session on “Systematic Literature Review Methods for Topics in the Humanities” echoes the recent introduction of systematic searches into “our” Humanities and Social Sciences Library, another on “Measuring the Success of a 21st Century Center for Learning” (an assessment of how an awardwinning large new library with a focus on student success actually performed) seemed interesting because of the plans for redesigning the interior of GSH  . “Ebook Showdown: Evaluating Academic Ebook Platforms from a User Perspective” – what’s not to love?  I had almost made up my mind at “Tutorials Toolkit: Creating Sustainable Library Instruction”, and then came the clincher. “The Neoliberal in YOUR Library: Resisting Corporate Solutions to Collection Development”. By then, I was booking my ticket. And OK, I wanted to see
  3. Lawrence Lessig. The final keynote speaker at the conference may be worth the wait. Lessig is Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, founding member of Creative Commons and longtime opponent of increased legal restrictions on copyright. He is also the founder of Rootstrikers, a network of activists leading the fight against government corruption. His TED conference talk on how  current campaign funding weakens democracy made some waves. So did his interview with Edward Snowden. Wouldn’t you want to know what he has to say to 3000 librarians?
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