ALA Midwinter is in about three weeks. I’m pretty excited for it. I’ve never been to an ALA conference, Midwinter or otherwise. However, this will be the first time that I’ve gone to any conference with the title “vendor”. In some circles of librarianship I might as well be a leper. I am, they say, on the dark side. As if Darth Vader is my drinking buddy and my idea of a good time is laundering money and turning people into speed bumps vis-a-vis Al Capone.
Though I disagree with those Debbie Downers, though I don’t believe a thing they say, and while I will support my choices to the end…I am a tad nervous at the thought of potentially dealing with some overanxious, loud, hyperintellectual who is hellbent on arguing with me about vendors being phooey. I’ve seen those people. They need to get out more. You know who I’m talking about.
Now as a librarian, I will admit to poor behavior towards vendors. My friends would always ask if I wanted to go to the vendor area and I would say no and coach them to “keep their head down and not make eye contact!” In hindsight, people in glass houses should not throw stones, and I now realize I was lobbing boulders.
It’s an interesting thing to call libraries who own the software made by my company. They are shocked that I am calling simply to check in and see if everything is okay. When I explain that they need not rush off the phone, that I just want to say hello, to make sure that they are happy…they respond with as much belief as if I had said I was actually a dancing unicorn with magical powers. They cannot believe that I am not calling them to sell them more…to tell them that they need an expensive upgrade or that they just have to have the newest version of something. Now, many, many, many libraries are exceedingly kind…they love the software and by proxy love me. As I’ve said in the past, it’s a great feeling and I often find myself smiling dumbly to myself, lost in a sense of happiness that I get to help libraries for living. It is a painfully geeky confession…someone cue the sappy music. But every so often, I get those wary libraries, the type that treat me with the same caution one uses when encountering a person who has just announced they just left an asylum. Politely distant and speaking in a high-pitched tone…slightly strangulated with fear.
I plan to do a whole series of posts on vendor/librarian relations sometime. That will make me popular, I’m sure. </snarkiness> But if you see me at conference, say hi. I will not bite. Or sell you anything. No, seriously.