April 11, 2010

MOLA: Saturday (part 2)

Saturday morning was rough: I slept fitfully and had barely eaten anything on Friday, so I awoke feeling like a sack of death. My eyes were stubbornly bloodshot and I felt like I might boot it at any minute. Breakfast -- which ended up being three slices of toast, two cups of juice, and a little bacon -- helped. Coffee also helped. But in the end, I've been functionally exhausted all weekend. It's OK.

The first event of the day, after setting up the registration desk and some of the vendor tables, was the business meeting. It was fun to listen to the roll call (a microphone is passed around and each person states their name and their member organization) because there were so many names I knew from emails back and forth but who I had never met. I got a special little shout-out as the intern, which was especially great because afterwards a number of folks came over and introduced themselves.

My first breakout session of the day, after the business meeting and a group lunch, was the Ricoh users group. Yup, a session entirely devoted to A PARTICULAR BRAND OF COPY MACHINE. I had expected to learn some new copier skills, but it ended up being more an overview of the capabilities of the various models, and a lot of story- and experience-swapping. I learned more in the session about how people cope with their problems and the really insane needs that some organizations have. I also feel fortunate to work for a company who takes my copier needs seriously and who bring me along whenever we get a new machine. I got a great checklist of things to look for in a copier, and a good idea of what to put on my list for the future.

There is no way to make that last paragraph less geeky.

My second session was "Hands-on music repair and binding" with Metropolitan Opera librarian Bob Sutherland. Bob is kind of a mythological figure in my mind; he's been doing his job at the Met for a long time, and is one of the best in the business. Joseph Colaneri, one of our relatively frequent guest conductors (who also conducts at the Met), is always urging me to call him the next time I'm in New York. "I'll introduce you to Bob. You'll be amazed by that library." I couldn't imagine just popping by -- a little librarian like me! -- but now I understand. Bob's session was awesome mainly because it was so interesting to hear what they do there at the #1 opera house in the country. They unbind any parts that are staple-fastened and they rebind every part and score. And when I say "rebind," I mean they hand-sew each binding. I've taken a book-binding class, so the actual binding lesson was a review for me, but that was SO OKAY. Bob is so generous with his time and knowledge, and seemed very sincerely pleased that we had an interest in the subject. I daresay that he's as much an archivist as a performance librarian. We are all archivists to some degree, but he clearly has a real passion for it. He showed us a part from Verdi's Otello, one the Met orchestra used up until the mid-1990s. It was stamped "Metropolitan Opera: 1888-1889 season." I admit I secretly teared up a little at the magic of that.

Saturday night was the Omaha Symphony concert; the program started with several recognizable 'space' themes -- the opening of Also Sprach Zarathustra (the 2001: A Space Odyssey music), along with the themes from Star Trek, Star Wars, and E.T. The second half was Holst's The Planets, accompanied by images of each planet as the music played. It was a great idea; there were several kids' groups in attendance. It was a nice night: I couldn't get over how beautiful the performing arts center is. And the symphony's music director gave us a very sweet shout-out just before the close of the first half; he told the audience that no music that you hear at any orchestra performance anywhere would be possible without librarians, and he had us stand up so we could be applauded! It was a nice gesture.

And then I came back and flopped into my giant king-sized bed. I need me one of those.

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