Digging Out From Under the Pile

ALA Annual 2008 T -2 days
June 23, 2008, 8:05 pm
Filed under: 3M/NMRT log, conferences, libraryland | Tags: , , ,

I received an e-mail earlier this morning from the lovely Kate Hahn reminding me of the need to keep a log of my ALA experiences as part of the requirements of the 3M/NMRT Leadership Award, of which I am a recipient this year. I’ll be posting my logs first to this blog and copy them to Young Librarian as a transition piece.

So, ALA. This is my third ALA Annual and fifth ALA conference: Annual 2005 in Chicago, Midwinter 2007 in Seattle, Annual 2007 in Washington, D.C., and Midwinter 2008 in Philadelphia. I also attended the Public Library Association National Conference in Minneapolis this past March. This is my first time in the state of California and I’m using it as a great excuse for me to finally visit a friend after telling her for almost 10 years “I’ll try to come out next year”. Planning for the conference has been very elastic, time-wise. Once I received word I had been named a recipient of this year’s award, I made my general travel plans, but let my specific conference planning slide a bit. I’ve been playing around with my schedule for probably the past month and got serious about it roughly two weeks ago. I did get a bit distracted as a number of libraries in the area my office serves are located in communities greatly affected by the flooding in eastern Iowa, though there was no damage to our libraries. (Side note: if you’re interested in helping the affected libraries, please visit the 2008 Flood Resource Center or the State Library of Iowa’s update from June 23rd.)

The joy for me about conferences is I get to see friends I pretty much only see at conferences.  However, that is also a bane for me.  I have a wide range of friends and it’s hard to visit with everyone for as long as I want to and still be able to go to programs, visit the exhibits and do other conference related things.  At this point, I’m about done with scheduling specific meetings with friends because I’m pretty booked and I’m tapped out with planning.

Right now, I’m simultaneously ready to leave for my vacation/conference time tonight and I’m in no way prepared.  I was up until 1 am last night packing and sorting through everything I wanted to bring home with me for vacation and the subset of what I wanted to take with me to California.  With all of the luggage restrictions, I’m only checking my one large suitcase and will have two carry-ons.  The large suitcase felt a bit heavy, so I think I’ll rearrange and cull through what I’ve packed when I’m at my parents’ tomorrow.  What’s the rule of thumb for packing for vacation? “Pack what you want to have with you and then take out half of it.”?  I realize I’m going to have little space for books and other promo items, but I learned the joy of shipping stuff at this past Midwinter and I’m really hoping there will be a USPS area for us in the Exhibit Hall.  At the Public Library Association Conference in Minneapolis this past March, there was only the FedEx/Kinko’s in the convention center and there was just not enough space and staff for the amount of people who wanted to ship.  Plus FedEx is typically more expensive than the USPS and I’m all about the saving of money 🙂

Overall, I’m really excited for this conference.  I’ll have a chance to cement relationships that I’ve been building since last year’s Annual and online over the last year.  I feel like this conference is both a culmination of projects and goals I’ve been working in my first five years of professional librarianship and a kick in the pants to the next level of leadership.


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