ALA Midwinter 2020

Kobe Bryant, Coronavirus and things that keep me up at night (like censorship of LQBTQIA+ authors, and youth media awards excitement)… #alamw20

Google hangouts message exchange with my family about news of Kobe Bryant’s startling death in helicopter crash
Finding out about Kobe Bryant death

Trying to shield the blue light of my phone screen from the peacefully sleeping husband and baby beside me. Slept a deep deep sleep and woke to the powerful urge to plan my last conference day. It’s 3:37 AM. I also want to reflect on yesterday. I captured my day in notes, media and book buzz bags. I want to share some of the bigger moments.I was leading a digital media discussion group with the Film & Media Roundtable when news broke about basketball player Kobe Bryant’s startling death in a helicopter accident. My best friend Allison was helping me live tweet the discussion via the FMRT twitter account.

After the discussion, she returned my phone to me and said, some big news and messages rolled in –

My sister-in-law had messaged wishing us safe travels back to NYC. She commented how the death reminded her “it can happen to anyone anytime” and told us she loved us.

Being a new mom has amplified my sensation of time, family, mortality, love and the risk of loving. The crash reminded me of my work as an intern at the Syracuse University Archives for the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie Air Disaster (in which SU lost a whole cohort of students who had been on the flight coming back from study abroad when it went down over Scotland, also killing 11 on the ground). The terrorism changed air travel legislation drastically, and I helped process the Gretchen Dater collection. Gretchen was one of the students killed in the crash. Her parents were newspaper editors. A lot of her files were newspaper clippings. In processing her files, I came into contact with some news clippings that haunt me to this day (especially ones about a mom that lost both her kids, and another about the residents of Lockerbie encountering the passengers and aircraft remnants in their sheep pasture). The plane exploded because of a luggage item that had been snuck onto the plane with a rigged device. The attack was loosely attributed to  the Libyan government. I got the impression that the attack was the beginning of the end for the major airliner Pan Am.

Librarians are keepers of history. Library work is a powerful responsibility.

^^^ that was also the theme of a POWERFUL poptop stage panel discussion about the “quiet censorship of LQBTQIA+ authors” put on in Association with the Office of Intellectual Freedom.

Instagram video clips and tweets from that on my personal accounts @samanthamairson. Will also be blogging about it for OIF blog. Keep an eye out!

https://twitter.com/samanthamairson/status/1221544553045549057?s=21

Tony Negro and I serendipitously encountered around the “my ALA story” videography booth in the ALA lounge on Sunday.  She wasn’t ready to be filmed but shared an oral history with me and an ALA lounge staff member named Crystal. She gave me permission to share her inspiring story in my video about ALA.

Notes from recording My ALA video and spontaneous oral history interview with fellow librarian, Tony Negro.
Notes from recording My ALA video and spontaneous oral history interview with fellow librarian, Tony Negro.

I need to get back to sleep and rest my eyes before it’s time to wake up, scarf food, strap on the baby, and head over to conferencelandia for the Youth Media Awards.

I’ll ask my husband and Kyle Cassidy for permission to share the photo I took of them on our voyage to the Philadelphia Free Library. We got to be part of the 1pm library opening rush.

Kyle Cassidy, Photographer, outside the Philadelphia public library with my husband, David.
Kyle Cassidy, Photographer, outside the Philadelphia public library with my husband, David.

Here’s one of me at the Library of Congress booth. I was super brain tired at that point in the day, but not beyond making acquaintance with some great LOC librarians.

Other news: spent forever waiting for a shuttle bus x3. Met cool people. Got amazing book buzz bfast, reading materials and library fashion inspiration with bestie. Shadowed my ALSC mentor, Rosemary, at her committee group meeting. Also saw behind the scenes ALSC book award selection.

Books under consideration on table in the back of the room
Books under consideration on table in the back of the room

Decompressed in hotel room (which included watching documentaries about Mosul, a polluted river in Indonesia, and the Corona virus outbreak in China). Had amazing, affordable, delicious vegetarian gourmet at V-Street with my family. $35 prix fix, highly recommend! Hit up Trader Joe’s, sorted conference stuff, wrote follow-up  emails, packed, nursed little man, changed diapers, etc.

Ta-ta-for-now! Will check in from (or after) YMAs.

One comment

  1. Kim Swart

    Love reading your Blog!

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