This meeting was another twofer: my first time at the Southern Chapter and my first time in Charleston, SC. I was delighted by both. Stepping off the plane was my first delight: a warm, pleasant climate (in November!) with palm trees. I’m a transplanted Midwesterner living in New York City, so palm trees have always seemed exotic to me, and they usually mean I’m somewhere very pleasant. Carolyn and I checked into the conference hotel, the Francis Marion, where we had a room with two bathrooms (we found out that many of the smaller rooms had been combined, and the bathrooms were left). We quickly unpacked and went out to lunch at Jestine’s Kitchen, then to explore the Charleston City Market.

There was a welcome reception in the exhibits that evening, where we re-acquainted ourselves with many old friends. The meeting started on Wednesday with a terrific keynote by George M. Needham, Vice President of Member Services at OCLC. His presentation was titled “Perceptions and Realities: Some Thoughts on Library Futures.” He highlighted findings from an OCLC report called “Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World.” This report explores social participation and cooperation on the Internet, and how they can impact the library’s role. Two members of MLA’s Task Force on Social Networking Software, Michelle Kraft and Gabriel Rios, gave reactions. I attended several excellent contributed papers, and I hope that some of these may be published. After a poster session, Carolyn and I went on the homes and garden tour. A combination walk and bus took us to three incredible homes that have been lovingly restored over the years. It was hard to believe that they had been several feet under water after Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Thursday started with a general session called “Medical Librarians ‘In Context’: In the Hospital, In the Classroom, & Virtually Everywhere.” Moderated by Laura Cousineau from the Medical University of South Carolina, the panelists (two physicians and a nurse) urged us to “market, market, market.” Some of the notes I took: Personal connections are vital – start with one, and build on your success. Think outside the silo – be a silo buster. Librarians must enter the “field,” where the animals are. (I think that’s a metaphor…) More contributed papers that afternoon, then a lovely banquet featuring Betty Chavis Jones, a Gullah storyteller and the Adande Drum and Dance Company.

The meeting ended Friday with Betsey Humphreys talking about NLM’s Long Range Plan, 2006-2016, followed by a distinguished reaction panel; the MLA update; and the NLM/RML update. This was yet another excellent chapter meeting, and I am very glad I was invited. This group meets next year in Birmingham, where my parents live, and I hope to be able to attend that meeting as well.

You know I have pictures.