After a week on the other side of the Pacific, the Crown Room at Hartsfield's B Concourse feels foreign and exotic, despite the number of times I've been here before. My internal clock reads about 1 in the morning, but I feel fine -- just eager for this last little hop back to Birmingham. I'll stop at Marian's on the way home so I can give presents to the girls.
I was quite impressed by how seriously the librarians at Songnisan took their workshop assignment. They were working in their groups until late in the evening planning, and then spent the first part of the morning laying everything out on the flip charts. The assignment that I'd given them was to identify a particular target group at their institution, analyze their needs, and develop services that would require them to get out of the library and engage with that group in new and creative ways.
All of the presentations were good, and each one had something special to recommend it. When the presentations were all finished, Joep and Mr. Choi and I went out into the anteroom to compare notes and select our winners (there were cash prices for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place). We went back in and I told them that I thought they were all great and I wished that I could bring them all back to America with me, because my colleagues there could learn a thing or two from them. I meant every word.
I made brief comments on each of the presentations, highlighting the specific areas where I thought they'd particularly excelled and then I announced the awards, in reverse order. There was much cheering and clapping and many pictures were taken. Then lunch, and goodbyes, and we caught the bus back to Seoul.
There was one more meal to be had. After saying goodbye to Julie at the hotel, Joep, Inn Beng and I checked into our rooms, and then we headed out to a Korean barbecue place for dinner. There, we sat around a small round table with a recessed grill in the middle and ate beef with garlic and spices wrapped in lettuce leaves, along with various pickled and marinated vegetables, while we drank beer and soju and talked and laughed and pretended that we weren't all heading off in different directions the next day.
I said it when I started my presentations each day, and after this week I believe it more than ever -- what a fantastic time this is to be a librarian!