Taxicab Confessions: ALA Edition

By Carrie Stefanski

I learned first-hand that there are more library conversations than the ALA show floor can handle, or maybe I was just high on libraries during the long conference weekend. Either way, the need for libraries followed me on all my ride-share trips around SF. And this made me happy!

Here’s the inside scoop on how the library love spilled out of the conference and into the taxi cabs.

Stop 1: Periodical 15

After a late lunch meeting, I was off to Pier 15 for the Library of the Year award ceremony. As the ride-share headed toward the Exploratorium, we picked up Neeraj. He was off to a restaurant on the way to meet some friends for dinner. We got to talking about where we were from and what we were doing in San Francisco. After my brief Gale/ALA spiel, Neeraj told me he was beginning a startup.

“Ohh, so what stage are you in?” I couldn’t wait to offer my eResource insight.

“We’re just starting, in the research phase. We are actually having problems accessing science journals,” said. He went onto explain that he and his colleagues were trying (and failing) to access academic periodicals from their alma maters.

“STOP THE BUS! GO TO YOUR PUBLIC LIBRARY,” I exclaimed, in more words or less.

I was way too excited to tell him that he could get online periodicals from his local public library. “You can access them online anytime, with a library card; you won’t even have to go there.”

“For real though, you have to go to your public library when you get home,” was how I said goodbye.

Neeraj was from Palo Alto, and sure enough, Palo Alto Public Library’s e-Journals are displayed prominently on their homepage navigation. They offer their patrons Academic OneFile and General OneFile on the InfoTrac platform and I hope Neeraj takes my advice, because when he’s ready, he’ll discover PAPL also has Business Insights: Global!

Stop 2: Traffic Jam

I missed the boat! I literally missed the boat to Alcatraz because of traffic. Sigh. Since I was stuck in traffic headed back to the hotel, I began to engage in small talk with my driver, Zenebe.  I told him I was in San Francisco for the American Library Association conference. Zenebe immediately began telling me his library story—I didn’t even have to fish for it. He has two young sons, 3 and 5, and he takes them to storytime at his local library often.

We talked early literacy; I may have mentioned Gale’s newest online learning program, Miss Humblebee’s Academy. Zenebe said that his oldest son had an online program that he really likes and he pays $7 a month for a subscription.

“Early literacy IS all the rage,” I thought to myself.

Now, I don’t remember his home branch, but I can say that Sacramento Public Library has a ton going on in their birth to five space. They have an assortment of eBooks, including GVRL. I encouraged him to look into his library’s digital offerings to see what products his kids could access for free.

Lot of parents take their children to storytime, but still don’t know what else their library has to offer …for them. I tried to flip the conversation and ask Zenebe his interests to see if I could share some more public library knowledge, but he remained focused on his kiddos. Sounds like they are smart cookies and have a dedicated dad to thank for it.

Stop 3: Home

Like all of you, I’m exhausted and exhilarated from my week at the show but my library love doesn’t stop! I vow to keep on keeping on with my public library advocacy!


[alert-info]Carrie Stefanski

About the Author

After six years in higher education IT, Carrie joined the Gale Marketing Team. She has a B.S. in written communications, gets her work/life balance playing roller derby, and still has her first library card.


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