Saturday, May 17, 2008

MLA 2008: What's Coming In Under My Door?

I just got back to my room after the MLA 2008 opening reception. The MLA tradition is that most people go to the reception early and then get together with friends for dinner.

Since the vendors don't put out their best free stuff at the reception, plus I am planning to do the 6:30 AM Sunday Majors walk (free breakfast and a t-shirt), I went to dinner with friends beforehand and didn't get to the reception until the last half hour.

After getting back to the room, dressing 'down', turning on the TV (Note to Hyatt: Why provide a 37" wide screen without offering HD?!) and booting up the Mac a bunch of stuff came flying under my door.

It isn't enough that we get vendor materials in the mail before the conference and in my conference pack, we also get it hand delivered to our rooms. I fully understand the role that vendors play in putting on a conference. Conferences are expensive. Vendor support is essential. In fact, a vendor is probably paying for my Internet access as an 'official conference blogger." Thank you, whomever you are.

In total, there were eight pieces of vendor literature delivered to my room, and no good free stuff. The problem I have with all this literature is that I will just throw it all away. In fact, I speculate that 80%+ of all the vendor materials printed and brought to the MLA conference gets thrown away at the conference site. The vendors will see that as a good thing since the 2o% percent retention may lead to few sales.

Even if I were a collection development librarian, I would probably still go to the vendor web site rather than take all their promotional literature. Good free stuff, that I'll take. (Anyone giving away USB drives?)

I just hope the Hyatt has an aggressive paper recycling program. Sphere: Related Content


Meredith said...

Wow! Under the door! That's a new one!

Last January, at Midwinter, it was my first time covering the exhibits for American Libraries. I was eager to do a thorough job, so I dutifully picked up literature from every vendor I thought I might possibly cover in my roundup. Of course, it didn't occur to me that the same information would be available online, and I wouldn't then have a ton of paper and folders to stuff into my suitcase and (later) to toss into my recycling bin. At this coming ALA Annual, I'm going to ask if the same info is available online and then just use what's online.

It would be awesome if we got a USB stick at the door to the exhibits and then each vendor we visited could just upload their literature onto it when we visit their booth. Ah, to dream of a paperless exhibit hall!

Eric Schnell said...

UPDATE: Came back Sun night after the Bearded Pigs event to even more under the door literature.