What I learned from my ALA hotel experience
June 27, 2015

I was a very late addition to the annual meeting of the American Library Association, deciding on Wednesday that I would come to San Francisco for the weekend for some library learning. I had recently placed a focus on libraries as the ideal host for Code Clubs, with a vision of millions of kids learning computer programming all over the country (world?). ALA is the largest community of library professionals, and therefore the best place to learn about how to build a scalable program.

But San Francisco is expensive, and I am an aspiring entrepreneur with very little cash. So I scoured the internet, and eventually found a quaint little place in SOMA. It looked ok, and the price was definitely right, so I made the reservation.

Then I got to the hotel. Remember that scene in Big, where Tom Hanks goes to NYC and stays in a loud, dirty, shady hotel? That’s the best way to describe this place. The entrance is secured by a sturdy locked gate, the front desk is behind bulletproof glass, the hallways are under construction, the stairs are falling apart, and there is one shared shower per floor. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure. And in a noisy, gritty neighborhood, I knew there would be loud noise into the early morning hours.



So after a fun evening with friends, I was not exactly excited for a restful night of sleep at the hotel. In fact, I was grumbling to myself as I walked from the BART station.

Until I saw a man sleeping on the concrete ground, wrapped up by old blankets and garbage bags. Suddenly, I have nothing to complain about.

Additional Resources

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