Friday, June 29, 2007


I just got back from the American Library Association annual conference in Washington, D.C. , with 27,000 librarians in attendance. Quite frankly, I wasn't very enthusiastic about going, but once I got there, it proved to be a very interesting week, with many Hye (Armenian) connections (including my roommate and colleague).

Day 1 (June 22): International Relations Round Table orientation -- one of the attendees turned out to be an Armenian woman from Rostov, Russia; also, my colleague from Armenia, who is the director of the Information Resource Center at the American Embassy in Yerevan.

Day 2 (June 23): Opening session -- keynote speakers, Bill Bradley and Vartan Gregorian (the latter has been an inspiration for me, especially for his "Vartanization" of libraries); presentation of the Sara Jaffarian School Library award.

Day 3 (June 24): EMIERT program, "Immigrants, Libraries, and the American Experience," at which I was one of 3 panelists. I spoke about Armenian immigrants , incorporating my own experience with American libraries.

Day 4 (June 25): Even at the exhibits, many of my contacts had a Hye lining, including one of the vendors from Madison, WI, who, when she saw my last name, connected it to my brother-in-law at the University. She had attended a number of his performances, knows his wife and son! I also managed to pique the interest of several publishers of language programs and geographic series that Armenian/Armenia should be considered for future publication. At the International Librarians reception that evening, of the 600 guests there were 5 Armenians, one from Armenia, one from Russia, and three from Los Angeles.

Day 5 (June 26): On the bus I met two librarians from Fresno, who work directly with the Armenian Studies program at Fresno State University. They know some of the people I know and attend many Armenian community functions. This makes them ABC's (Armenians by Choice).

Day 6 (June 27): Many of my taxi drivers were from Ethiopia and were familiar with the Armenian community in Addis Ababa. The cancellation of my flight home meant I had to fly in to LAX instead of Burbank. Who was my shuttle driver? Vartan the Armenian!

Now, back to L.A. reality and the writing of the dissertation...