Now that I have completed my first experience at a national ALA conference, I wanted to share some thoughts on what I learned. I made some of the common newbie mistakes along the way even though I was told not to make them. I tried to do too many sessions, tried to do too much of the exhibit floor and wore the wrong shoes on the first day. The last of which left me with blisters for the rest of the conference.
One of the best things that I attended was the membership meeting for ACRL which included a conference 101. This session really did help in my decision-making for the rest of the conference. I listened to some of the advice, and some I just learned the hard way. Also, I got the change to meet new people at this meeting in between speakers.
During the conference, I attended some of the sessions that I had planned on. However, I took some sage advice and wasn’t chained to my schedule. In one instance, I deserted one program that was packed for one next door. This ended up being a presentation on the National Women’s History Museum Project. It was a very interesting session and not something I had planned.
This conference had many interesting programs even for a student. I have a great interest in academic libraries and although I don’t have much experience in one, I found many of the sessions interesting and thought-provoking. This did not leave much time to visit the exhibit hall booths. Due to my worn-out feet, I didn’t spend much time in the exhibit but still managed to grab some goodies for my colleagues back home and learn a little something from the exhibitors.
Things I Learned for my next conference:
-Wear VERY comfortable shoes
-Attend more meetings and interest groups than general sessions
-Bring someone along to wade through exhibit hall
-Take more time to blog and take notes
All in all it was a good conference and I hope to be able to attend next year in New Orleans!