Friday, April 13, 2007

Going to CIL, with inflatable

What do you do when Computers in Libraries charges LibraryThing thousands of dollars to exhibit, a cool $1,000 for two days of internet access and THEN tells us we can only bring in "what one person can carry in one trip"?

Well, what large thing can one person carry in one trip?

If you answered "a five-foot long inflatable rhino," you think like we do. Here's Abby showing us that it's arrived. John and Altay (who?) and I are in the background.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

$500/day for internet access in a hotel meeting room is pretty standard.

And the what "one person can carry on on trip" rule is a union thing. Any more than that and you have to pay a Teamster to do it for you. Again, this is pretty standard for conferences.

4/13/2007 6:40 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Oh, I'm not arguing it's not standard. But it is the sign of a messed-up industry, an industry badly in need of a shake-up.

Why does the OPAC in your library cost $100,000 year? It's not the technology, but the whole wasteful machinery of OPAC-selling--the conferences, the salesmen, the pens and keychains and water bottles and everything. The librarians going to CIL are underpaid and traveling on tight budgets. But they're paying for it as surely as if they all stayed at the Ritz. If OPACs cost what they should, you could probably paint every librarian in the country solid gold. A plan, that.

The "it's a union thing" may be literally true, but one can be certain the conference organizers aren't trying to remove that rule. And I doubt un-unionzed conference venues have lower rates. The beneficiary is the conference organizer, not the union. They're getting thousands for our setup--a card table and two stools.

4/13/2007 7:09 PM  
Anonymous BTRIPP said...

When I was a publisher and Book Expo was at McCormick Place I always carried in our display stuff. It was a pain in the butt, but was better than paying big bucks to have it show up "via official channels".

I went to an Army/Navy surplus store and got two large duffel bags, each big enough to hold two "copy paper" boxes, and had a closure that I could throw a padlock on. I was able to get pretty much everything in those, plus they had substantial "backpack-like" straps, so I'd be able to have one over each shoulder. I'd get in with those on set-up day, chain them under the table, then come back (after a shower and change of clothes) to do set-up as needed.

(sigh) ... I miss those days. I sure hope somebody hires me soon before I go all "William Foster" and all.

4/14/2007 12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, welcome to vendor-land. Huh. I know you know what's up; I'm not questioning that. It was a bit of a surprise to me when I moved from library-land to vendor-land.

I agree that it's a sign of a messed-up industry, but I think you have the wrong industry in mind.*

The exhibition industry is the one that's messed up. My best example is the cost of having your 10x20 piece of carpet vacuumed. It'd literally be cheaper to buy a vacuum cleaner, vacuum your carpet each day for three days, and then just toss the vacuum cleaner in a garbage can at the end of a conference. Literally. I couldn't bring myself to do that, but it would have been cheaper.

Everything is corporate now, but back in the day, we'd find the guy vacuuming the carpet next to us (whose owners had contracted with the exhibition staff to do it for, say, $60) and slip him a $20 to do ours. Works better for everyone. Still -- $20 to vacuum 180 square feet?***

I still have my rant to librarians complaining about the $25/day cost of internet access at an ALA or LITA conference. Most don't realize how much money vendors spend on this stuff.

And, some time, I'll tell you about how we 'borrowed' electricity at McCormick Place, and better yet, how we got away with it.

*Though, I certainly agree about the messed-up-ness of the library industry.**

**Can I use your footnote-style in postings to your blog?

*** A 10x10 booth usually only gets 10x9 worth of carpet, unless you pay extra. Hmmm.

4/23/2007 3:28 PM  

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