A rather astounding succession of low-probability events surrounded this particular talk, given for the 2010 UK Serials Group conference. The most dire one was the first: I went to the emergency room with what turned out to be a kidney stone about two weeks before my travel date. I had to grovel a bit before the doctors would let me travel at all.
Since one doesn’t get to Scotland every day, my spouse came with me, and we took a tour up to the Isle of Skye, despite an Edinburgh ATM deciding to destroy my ATM card. On the second day of our tour, word came down about the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption. On the third and last day, it became clear we’d be stranded in Edinburgh.
I called British Airways; we were rebooked for a flight six days out. UKSG kindly got in touch to ask if they could help. By the weirdest and loveliest concatenation of librarianship, friendship, and social media ever, I was able to answer that we were all right.
As one does, I had put out word of our plight on social media. A librarian friend of mine from Wisconsin happened to have a law-librarian social-media friend in Edinburgh, who happened to have a friend in educational technology who was in the middle of moving apartments. This friend, after meeting my spouse and me, offered us use of her soon-to-be-former apartment the entire time we were stranded, refusing to accept payment.
If there’s a better argument for social media, or for the excellence of librarianship, than that, I don’t know what it could possibly be.