Back from ALABI
Well, my sidekick Andrew and I have returned from the ALABI annual meeting in Richmond, Virginia. With apologies to Travis Tritt, not only is it "a long way to Richmond driving north on 95," it's also a long way to Richmond driving east on 64. Still, the trip was great and I think we both had a really good time listening to the presentations and cavorting with fellow librarians and archivists.
The conference took place at the IMB building in Richmond. I was surprised at how many of the participants had never been to the building (Andrew and I were among that number) although many who had not been learned the address when they were going through RAs and GAs. I don't think I ever learned the address, but I still remember the RA pledge.
We were extremely impressed with the IMB facilities, especially the library, archives, and records management areas we saw. The IMB has a first class facility for taking care of the various types of records, and Southern Baptists should be happy that some of their CP giving goes toward preserving the history of SBC missions work. We were also amazed at how diminutive Lottie Moon was. Here is a picture of 6 feet tall Andrew beside a life size picture of Lottie.
Getting to see old friends and meet new ones is always an advantage of going to conferences. I got to spend time with all of the SBHLA gang (Bill, Taffey, and Kathy) as well as my former archives colleague Nathan Finn. I also had a chance to hang out with DebbiLee Landi, the archivist for Furman University. If you are ever working on a writing project about South Carolina Baptists, you simply must go work with the Baptist Historical Collection at Furman. DebbiLee and her staff are always gracious, and their new facilities are, well, off the hizzie. The decor in their research room really makes you want to pursue research, after you marvel at the decor for about ten minutes–lots of wood, muted tones, and high ceilings.
I also had the opportunity to meet some new faces. On Wednesday morning, I had breakfast with Bill Sumners, and he introduced me to Alan Lefever and Naomi Taplin, both of whom made me laugh and offered helpful advice about pursuing an MLIS degree. I met Laura Botts of Mercer University, who was one of the younger archivists at the conference. We had a brief opportunity to talk about wikis, blogs, and how archivists need to begin embracing the whole 2.0 meme. I met several other archivists who had been around the ALABI/SBLA circuit for a number of years, and I was encouraged to see people who had happily cared for Baptist collections for a number of years. Some were working with Baptist materials before I was born! They were very open and cordial to the "new blood" that has come into the association, and they were even kind enough to listen to my rambling attempt at a presentation, despite the fact that I am an ignorant newbie. I appreciate their graciousness and look forward to working with this group for years to come!
I will post more later about the presentations.