Friday, March 18, 2005

Last morning ruminations

This is the last morning - I'm sad to see it end, but eager to get back to my own bed and my own routines. As I always am when I travel. But I want to reflect on some of the reactions I have come across - to my being from OCLC.

In the opening keynote I sat next to a woman who looked at my nametag and said, You're from the MotherShip! She meant it quite positively and went on to talk about what OCLC has meant to her in her professional life. Then I came across a vendor who initially refused to talk to me. He said, You're the competition. I'm not going to tell you about our product! I started to leave the booth because I had come across that attitude at ALA and wasn't going to arguie with him. He called me back, said he was kidding, and gave me a detailed demo of his product, comparing it very knowledgeably to ours. It was a wonderful time.

Those are the two extremes - - awe and disdain (though pretended!) But the attitude I've come across here that surprises me most is ignorance. A number of the vendors who scanned my badge asked what OCLC is! I wanted to tell them to do their homework - instead I said that we're a library membership organization and let it go. Most of the vendors know who we are and were eager to show me their products - one even gave me his card and asked me to pass it along to the right people - he wants to partner with us!

The non-vendor participants I've met are all extremely positive about OCLC. It makes me feel good to be able to represent an organization that is seen as helpful, listening and caring by the wider library community!

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