Ever since I began working at the library in 2006, I have looked forward each year to when the library closes its doors to the public for a day we call "Staff Day." It's kind of nerdy to like it so much, I suppose, but it's a day when I get to spend time with a large group of people that I like a great deal (and, despite the fact that we work together, don't really see enough of). And yes, it's also a day when we are asked to absorb a lot of information - sometimes new, often valuable and interesting (though I realize not everyone would agree with that). But there are also activities where we get to interact, where we get to play and where we're entertained. One year my friend, Bill and I played some very uncoordinated Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero and had a blast (despite our not terribly successful scores).
Today was this year's Staff Day, which went a little something like this: I awoke at 7:20 (I meant to get up a little earlier, but my zombie-self hit the snooze), hurriedly dressed and left just after 8:00am. When I got to the library, most of my friends were already there. We made our way out to the "continental breakfast" tables and grabbed what one of my friends referred to as "okay" danishes and fruit. I, of course, needed coffee by then - but after two cups, found myself both hyper and anxious (thus, I drank water the rest of the day). Following breakfast, we shuffled into the auditorium for the "state of the library address" which told us how awesome we were (like we didn't already know!) and how much patronage to our library had increased (i.e., more evidence that we're awesome).
The next speaker was depressing as hell, though I'm sure that wasn't the intention. I guess it wasn't all depressing, but a lot of what she was saying about trends in publishing and the effect on bookstores was. Apparently, Barnes & Noble is no longer expanding - no new stores will be opening. And Borders was apparently facing the threat of bankruptcy - I honestly had no idea! If large chain bookstores are facing difficulty, one can only imagine where that leaves indie bookstores (which several of my most beloved bookstores are). I knew to some degree that it was an especially hard time for them, but that put a whole new perspective on the issue. According to the speaker, the American Bookseller's Association had 4700 member stores in 1993. As of 2009, it has gone down to 1600. This is why whenever I buy books from now on, I will not (!!!) shop at a chain. That includes Amazon. I might have to look at local, independent music and video stores are faring, too. I imagine it can't be much better. The one bright note in the world of publishing according to the speaker was the increase in publication and sales of young adult lit - an especially bright note for me, since that tends to be what I write.
There was a time management workshop, too, which is funny - have I not been talking about my procrastination tendencies and bad prioritizing lately? I took some notes on that. At lunch, my little group of shelvers took about a hundred pictures (except me, actually - I just posed in them; in my rush to get out of the house, I'd managed to leave my camera home). The last workshop I attended was about writing children's books and I really liked the work of the guy who spoke, though picture books are not something I could ever do. I am not a good enough artist, but the process looks really fascinating. He apparently does murals, too - he's done some for several schools and libraries in Illinois.
All in all, an interesting day. Tonight, I will probably do a little pen-pushing so that I can post a few reviews that I've been meaning to before the end of the weekend. The next couple of days already feel like they're overflowing with too much that needs to be done, but I'll be glad when Sunday evening gets here so that I can just sit back, relax and enjoy a few movies with friends.