John Waters Keynote

How do you feed three thousand librarians at once?  As quickly as you can.

The contributed paper session I was in before the keynote lunch ended on schedule. However, by the time I made it to the fourth floor, the ballroom was full. They had plenty of tables set up outside the ballroom. They also had four (maybe more) flat panels set up so we could see (in theory) what was going on inside.

I was at a table with librarians from Michigan, New York, Wisconsin, and California. The lunch was more than adequate if you were a meat eater (chicken). Those opting for the vegetarian meal ran into some problems. Iris had problems. So did one of the Wisconsin librarians at our table. Dessert was very good.

We could hear John Waters, but couldn't see him on the flat panels…too much glare. He told us that his talk was going to be mostly vaudeville, and he wasn't lying. I found it odd that he was selected to speak in the first place. He is from Baltimore, so that made some sense I guess. I didn't expect his address to include many academic library references and I wasn't disappointed.

His talk was entertaining though. I thought he was funny, but then I have a warped sense of humor and enjoy sarcasm.  The Baltimore Sun reported on the "offended librarians". I saw people leave, but think it was more likely that they wanted to sight see or shop.

Mr. Waters walked us through his career. He referred a couple of times to books, libraries, and librarians. He mentioned a childhood memory of going to the public library in Baltimore. He talked about the challenges of making films with objectionable content. There were a couple of reference to censorship.

I think he said fuck twice.   I wasn't counting. I know one of the New York librarians at my table was not pleased with his use of language and imagery. As reported on the conference blog, he educated us on teabagging. I think the New York librarian was gone by that time. All in all, I found him entertaining, but not inspiring or educational. 

You can listen to a 25 minute interview with Mr. Waters if you are interested.

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