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What I Learned At The Conference

Hi there! I’m back. Did you miss me? I’ll bet you didn’t even realize I was gone. But I was. I was at the Public Library Association Conference in Boston. Want to know what I learned? Too bad, I’m going to tell you anyway.

I learned how to use the new CharlieTicket. It’s not so bad, really, although the CharliePass sounds like it will have RFID and that makes me a bit nervous.

I learned that carrying a suitcase, a laptop and a duffle bag sized pocketbook up the stairs at the Park Street T Station is challenging. So is fitting through the turnstyle with all that stuff. Hey, I never claimed to be graceful.

I learned that the Copley Fairmont Hotel is very very nice. And they have a dog for a mascot, a black lab named Catie Copley.

I learned that a martini in the Oak Bar of the Copley Fairmont Hotel costs about $16. But it comes with it’s own mini ice bucket and some really great atmosphere.

I learned that walking from Copley, down Boylston Street, across the Public Garden, down Beacon Street, all the way to the Charles/MGH T stop will give me a honking blister on the bottom of my foot. And doing that on the first day of the conference? Not a good plan.

I learned that there are Mexican beers besides Corona. At The Border Cafe, in Cambridge, they serve one called Negra Modelo and it’s really really good. Especially when you have 2 of them, along with the seafood enchiladas, for lunch. On the first day of the conference.

I learned that the elusive (to me, anyway) yarn shop, Woolcott, isn’t all that fantastic. It’s nice and all, but I wouldn’t make a special trip back.

I learned that The Cheesecake Factory is a great place to meet up with knitting buddies. We had a fun visit there, even if Wendy and Jackie weren’t as excited by the Well Mannered Dirty Martini as I might have hoped. Maryse and I had to finish theirs for them. And Kellee introduced me to plaintains, which are quite yummy, it turns out.

I learned that a pot of coffee, delivered by room service at the Copley Fairmount, will cost $20.

I learned that the walk from the Copley Fairmount to the Hynes Convention Center can be accomplished by staying inside, through the Copley Shops and the Prudential Shops, or by heading outside and nearly getting run over by a tax, but either way, when you have a blister on the bottom of your foot, it’s going to hurt.

I learned that there are A LOT of librarians in the world. And some of them will travel from Alaska and California and Hawaii just to attend a national conference. And most of them are really bad dressers.

I learned that big groups of librarians make it tough to get a lot out of a conference. Especially when the workshops are overcrowded and you can’t find a seat and you end up walking out and then walking back to the hotel. With a blister on the bottom of your foot.

I learned that vendors at library conferences can be pushy but a lot of them give away books. Which you then, of course, have to lug around with you, which is not so much fun. Especially when you have a blister on the bottom of your foot.

I learned that my colleague, Amy, makes a great roommate. She even volunteers to go get Starbucks and bring it to me to save spending another $20 on room service coffee. And she knows her way around the city. And a menu, too, considering she chooses things like eggs benedict with smoked salmon, and fried clams, and fried oysters and catfish. The girl can eat, and I like that in a traveling companion.

I learned that librarians are friendly and like to see someone knitting. And then talk about knitting. One or two might even pull out their own knitting and show you their sock. Frankly, this was probably the coolest thing I learned.

I learned that the Bloody Mary at Legal Seafoods is quite tasty. It’s also pretty good at the Atlantic Fish Co. and so are the littlenecks on the half shell. Oh, and the lobster ravioli, too. Ahem.

I learned that fancy hotels and excellent food aside, it’s nice to come home to your family. And your own bathroom.

This Post Has 40 Comments

  1. Having spent all last evening wrestling with IRS forms, Boomer feels like he too has been run over by a tax.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist :).

    Sounds like a great time (except of course…), especially all the eating and drinking. I used to work in that neck of the woods — wish I’d been there to help you navigate, and eat and drink. And to carry something for you, to relieve some of the stress on that blister.

  2. Huh. That’s about what I learn at my conferences, too. With some notable exceptions: Court reporters are usually pretentiously overdressed, coiffed and made-up. And I know that knitting would not be considered cool. At all. Did I mention pretentious? Yeah, that.

  3. I felt that same way about Woolcott. It’s nice, but not worth a special trip. Sounds like you had some fun though! And good food, which makes every trip better.

  4. I’ll tell you what. Next conference I’ll go along as your porter, to help you through all the turnstiles etc. I’ll even go for coffee. And te Mexican dark beer… you should try the Leon Negra.
    I’m sure you would have, if it had been available. 😉

  5. Ah, your own bathroom is SO nice, isn’t it? Sounds like you had a wonderful time — good food and drinks and FRIENDS! Very cool friends.
    ; )

  6. Well some of it sounded like great fun. The eating, drinking and knitting I mean. Hope your blister is better! 🙂

  7. The hotel sounds luxurious; the food delicious. As for Mexican beer, that’s something I know a little bit about — I love Sol and Pacifico — both very refreshing and perfect with Mexican food. Hope the blister has healed :-). And, yes, I’m still glowing.

  8. I have to agree with you on Woolcott. It’s sooooo tiny. And the owner kept trying to push a poncho kit on me. Weird, ’cause just one look at me and it’s obvious I’m not a poncho person.

  9. I have to agree with you on Woolcott. It’s sooooo tiny. And the owner kept trying to push a poncho kit on me. Weird, ’cause just one look at me and it’s obvious I’m not a poncho person.

  10. I have to agree with you on Woolcott. It’s sooooo tiny. And the owner kept trying to push a poncho kit on me. Weird, ’cause just one look at me and it’s obvious I’m not a poncho person.

  11. You learned a lot! I liked learning from you about The Cheesecake Factory but heck – there isn’t one in CT! And I especially like learning that librarians like knitting. I’m thinking I should wander over to my town library and find out if that’s the case there.

  12. Yeah not so good walking from the Copley, through the Garden to Park Street Station. Done that actually a few times myself. If I get no blisters, I am usually ready to pass out on the T, also not so good. Boston is one of my favorite places. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  13. I always enjoyed going to professional conferences. (Don’t go much now ’cause I’m SAHM. Much better.) I returned to my job knowing that other therapists faced the same issues and I had a head full of cool ideas for my kids. All that being said, it was wonderful to be back in my own bed.

  14. Well, you learned a lot, didn’t you? And I’m thinking that a blister on the bottom of your foot is a small price to pay.

    Actually sounds like a lot of fun, but I agree with you about the bathroom thing.

  15. Well *I* missed you! Except for the blister, it sounds like you had a great time–and I’m sure you weren’t one of the bad dressers, either!

  16. That was the best review of a conference that I’ve seen in a long time. Actually it sounds like a great conference, with all the eating/drinking and meeting up with knitting buddies!

  17. You were all over my back yard, we MUST have crossed paths a few times. I saw the herds of badly-dressed and didn’t know what they were all doing in one place, maybe some sort of make-over clinic for TV or something. Had no idea is was just a librarian conference. Now I can share that with my friends!
    The walking is much nicer when things are green or in bloom. Come back, you’ll love it.

  18. I hope the blister has had time to heal. It sounds like it was a fabulous conference for knitting librarians, if not a generally fabulous conference. I’m glad you’re back. I bet the family missed you something fierce.

  19. Yeah, walking around Boston requireds a good pair of walking shoes (sneakers, really, not so cute but sooooo worth it on a daily basis 🙂 and YUM I am so jealous of all the good eats and I love me a good Bloody Mary 😉

    I had a great time on Wednesday, can’t wait for the next time!

  20. Wow. So, other than wondering how your blister is doing, my other burning question is were you sober for ANY of the conference?!! 😉

  21. The mini “tour de martini” sounds like a very good way to survive any professisonal conference. Love hearing about the dress code: at the Modern Language Association, it’s all black, all the time, right down to the teensy tinsy eyeglass frames. Maybe a hint of color here and there, but only for the tenured radicals.

  22. Well you learned a lot didn’t you Miss? At least the hotel sounded nice and you had a nice gastronomique adventure. That to me is the best part of traveling. And Negro Modelo is a fave, so is Dos Equis. And if you’re already rollin’ the Tecate could pass as decent too. Glad you are back!

  23. I missed you lots! I’m going to hazard a guess here…did you get a blister on your foot? ;o) I hope it feels better! Glad to hear you made it home to your bathroom…er, your family *grin*

  24. That was um, an interesting time. Gee, for some reason now I am really looking forward to ALA in New Orleans, if this is what PLA was like in Boston. My hotel is next to Harrah’s casino, though. Last Friday DH and I were sitting in Margaritaville in Las Vegas, saying, “boy I am looking forward to Margaritaville, I mean ALA, in New Orleans.” We had had a few Jimmy Buffet-themed libations. Hope there are knitters in NOLA!

  25. I once had a public library interview around these parts which gave way to my quote that “the stereotype still exists”. I couldn’t believe that youngish people were still wearing ’70s clothes when applying for library jobs. I haven’t ever travelled for a conference (unless you count some community college thing in Virginia, but that may have been just for our university) but it sounds like fun!

  26. I’m sorry about the blister. Recurring theme. Ouch. Good to know about Woolcott…I won’t bother unless I’m there.

  27. I love this post.
    I don’t doubt that most librarians are bad dressers…that part made me giggle out loud.
    And lobster ravioli? YUM!

  28. Oh Boston, how I miss thee! I used to walk from Boston U to Hynes Convention Ctr, through the mall, to Copley. *sigh* When my family came for graduation, I took them on the freedom trail then through the garden and to Cheers (which actually isn’t called Cheers) and they were complaining about their feet hurting for days. 🙂

  29. Sounds like you had a great time. Glad you discovered Negro Modelo, one of my favorites (I am much more a beer gal than a martini one, hee, hee). Look for Bohemia too.

  30. Sounds like you had a blast, even tho it was a professional gig…$16 for a martini, yikes! Did it come with a lap dance? 🙂

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