A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on how I was probably not going to ALA Midwinter due to the high cost of travel to attend two meetings. Well, it looks like I will be going after all. I have been asked to cover the exhibit hall for American Libraries, taking over for Andrew Pace who is moving on to do amazing things at OCLC. Boy is OCLC lucky to have a guy like Andrew. Soon they’ll have collected all of the cool people in our field!

I feel like I’m an odd choice to cover new products and vendor goings on, since I know comparatively little about that world. I’m more focused on social tools and the databases in my subject area. But maybe it’s a good thing. I’ll be looking at this world with fresh eyes; with fewer preconceived notions (well, I’ve got a few). I definitely plan on reading everything Marshall Breeding, Roy Tennant and Andrew Pace have written re:vendors in the past 5 years, so hopefully I won’t go in a totally clueless n00b.

It’s also funny that I’ll be writing this since I never get taken seriously by vendors (although, I swear, I’ve never worn a cat sweater in my life!). They think I look too young to have any power (purchasing or otherwise) and either because of that or because I’m female, they tend to talk down to me about tech stuff. Vendors really want their latest and greatest stuff mentioned in this article, so they will all want a piece of the person writing this. It’ll be fun to bust into that old boys club; bring on the cigars and cognac! ;)

Thanks to editor extraordinaire Leonard Kniffel for the opportunity, and thanks particularly to the amazing Andrew Pace, without whose faith in me, I certainly wouldn’t be doing this. Andrew was really good at covering the vendor happenings without making it all sound dry, and if I can do even half as well as he did, I’ll consider it a triumph. I have to say, I’ll miss having his work next to mine in the magazine.

My flight is booked. I still don’t have a hotel room, though I’m on the pending list through ALA (has anyone gone on there before? What are the odds I’ll actually get a room this way?). This will be my very first Midwinter, and I’m definitely excited! I’ll be pretty busy with the exhibits and my meetings, but is there anything I absolutely shouldn’t miss this time around?