I arrived Thursday evening and registered but didn’t have much else to do conference-wise, so I visited the Smithsonian museums of American Art and National Portrait Gallery nearby. Later I met up with friends Edward and Charlene for supper at a restaurant punningly called Thai Tanic.
Friday morning I walked down to the Mall and visted the Air & Space Museum for old times sake and then the US Botanical Garden.
After lunch I tried to visit the Library of Congress Open House, but the Capitol Police had the street in front of the Jefferson Building closed. I gave up and visited the Madison Building instead. The interior is eerie, and I wandered through the windowless corridors lined with solid, closed doors. I visited the Periodicals Reading Room but there was not much to see there. I had better luck at the Veterans History Project where the very friendly staff sat down with me and told me about their oral history program. They even took pictures of me for the LOC Gazzette. Meanwhile another alert went up from the Capitol Police as the Adams Building was evacuated due to a chemical spill. The LOC staff seemed very blase about emergencies and alerts in this paranoid city (I went through 4 metal detectors this day by the way). I also stopped by the Manuscripts Division and saw Abraham Lincoln’s childhood sums book and Alexander Graham Bell’s somewhat childish drawings of the first telephone. Finally I went to a reception upstairs and lots of LOC staff talked with me.
I went back to the convention center for the New Members Round Table Conference 101 program. The room was packed, but I stole a chair from another room and was actually able to sit at the same table as my co-worker Leslie.
Following this I walked to the RUSA STARS Happy Hour at the Elephant & Castle pub. As expected this was noisy and awkward but I did meet some friendly people.
I returned to the convention center for the premiere of the Hollywood Librarian, a moving and funny tribute to all of us librarians through the lens of the movies. It’s actually a great documentary and a sometimes not too subtle propaganda people. But our public sometimes need to be hit across the head.
There’s a long line waiting at the internet cafe so I will try to write more later.