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The celebrities (singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant and authors Nicholas Kristof and Sarah Vowell) were surely a draw, as were the city's convenient public transportation (free downtown light rail!) and quirky pleasures, but the value of the Public Library Association (PLA) conference, March 23-27, in Portland, OR, came in the practical sessions, the sharing of expertise.
Attendance was down (see NewsDesk, LJ 4/15/10, p. 14), but there's clearly a value in in-person contact. Not every session was a smash, and some were ill-matched for the size of the room, but a prudent conferencegoer could have a rich repast. Meanwhile, virtual conference attendance drew small crowds, barely more than 100 people, but LJ's sample--such as coverage of programs on security and crossover RA--suggests that this medium is getting closer to prime time. (Also see InfoTech, p. 16-18, Francine Fialkoff's editorial "From Pole to Pole at PLA," LJ 4/15/10, p. 8, and complete coverage, including daily Top Tweets, at LibraryJournal.com/PLA2010.)
THE ANYTHINK REVOLUTION
A crew from the Rangeview Library District, Adams County, CO, propagators of the brand they call Anythink, drew a huge crowd. From dropping Dewey to building LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver- and Gold-certified buildings, unveiling a snappy brand and giving up fines, developing an enthusiastic staff and transforming programming, Rangeview, led by Director Pam Sandlian Smith and a forward-thinking board, offered inspiration even as libraries hit tough …