Right now, librarians across the country are packing their bags, hailing taxis, and making their way to New Orleans for the annual American Library Association conference. According to recent numbers, we can expect 11,000 people to start flooding the Morial Convention Center over the next few days. I’ll be heading out tomorrow morning, but before I go, I wanted to give you a round-up of useful tips from other librarians across the internets.
Pre-Trip and Packing
There’s a lot of good advice out there. Personally, I defer to conventional wisdom and play it safe: assume you won’t find food, assume the weather will be lousy, assume you will be on your feet all day. Plan well. Adjust. Adapt. Conferences are a ton of fun but can make huge demands of your energy reserves. Here are some of my favorite tips:
- ALA Conference Survival Tips — 35 Conferences Later by K.G. Schneider
- How to Win at Conferences by Andromeda Yelton
- ALA Survival Tips, New & Improved for #ALA11 by Bobbi Newman
- The Road to ALA ’11: LIS Student Tips and Tricks by Lauren Dodd
- What I’m Not Bringing to ALA by Erin Dorney
- Librarian Wardrobe (see how others are packing)
What To Do
There’s more than enough going on at ALA to keep you busy from sunrise to sunset (and beyond) each day. This year, my schedule it packed, but generally I recommend creating a flexible schedule and then going with the flow. Some of the best panels/events I’ve attended I learned about through word-of-mouth. Here’s what a few others are doing:
All in all, your pre-planning and ALA 2011 experience will depend on what you hope to get out of the conference. If you are going to get a job, be professional and be social. If you are going to find out about latest trends, attend as many panels as you can. If you are going to have a good time, dress comfortably and hit up all the evening meetups. We expect ALA 2011 to be one thing or another when, in truth, it will be many things to many different people. You can be serious or you can be silly. Regardless of how you roll, I hope you’ll get bon temps in return. Safe travels, everyone!