When I arrived at Midwinter on Friday, I checked in and got my conference badge. Registration is in a tall-ceilinged room with white and grey floors that is not unlike a railway station. It sits at the crossroads between indoor tunnels to SEPTA, the local transit system, to the Marriott, where meetings are being held, and to the rest of the Philadelphia Convention Center. Across from registration is the table full of ribbons with a sign that reads, “If you are one, take one!”
Ribbons are colorful add-ons that you can stack onto your badge. Some people eschew these entirely while others collect them like it’s a scavenger hunt, until their badges extend down past their knees. There is indeed a ribbon for all the different affiliations, divisions, round tables, publishers, fandom cultures, and more. When I attended annual last year in DC, I was at first disappointed by the fact that most of the ribbons at check-in didn’t apply to me. I soon learned though that I had to earn my ribbons by going to meetings, attending sessions, and perusing the exhibit floor (publishers sometimes have ribbons too!).
This time I was prepared; although, I am sporting a considerably smaller ribbon collection (just four ribbons: a yellow 599.797 ribbon for Hufflepuff, a white ALSC Member ribbon, an orange YALSA Member ribbon, and a purple ribbon that says, “Advocacy Matters”). Others are more in the ribbon spirit, and so every time I ran across a conference attendee with an impressive ribbon collection, I asked to take a picture of it for the ALSC Blog, and folks were happy to share. When you next find yourself at ALA, maybe you’ll have a ribboned badge as cool as these.
Erica Ruscio is a Young Adult Librarian at Ventress Memorial Library in Marshfield, MA. She is currently serving on ALSC’s Advocacy & Legislation Committee and on YALSA’s Excellence in Nonfiction 2020 Committee.