My First ALA

For librarians, ALA Annual is THE place to see and be seen, to present, to network, and to fill a tote with free swag. But it is a big, busy, and intimidating event for a first-timer. Here are a couple of things I learned this year in NOLA.

  1. You will miss things that were on your list. It’s just too big and sometimes I couldn’t keep up. But I learned not to fret too much about it because I had to run to the next session on my list!
  2. Presenters are running somewhere too. I didn’t always get the chance to ask a question during the session. But it was just too bad for me because that presenter was running out the door to the next item on their own agenda.
  3. Get to Happy Hour early! It was my chance to meet the people that I couldn’t talk to during the conference. But you have to jump in before everyone has had one too many adult beverages.

For me, it was a bit difficult to meet people with similar interests. I went to the sessions, heard all about the research and projects, but when it came to actually talking to someone about all these interests, I failed a bit. I learned that it’s hard to break into ALA. But I’m confident that I’ll keep meeting people and eventually I’ll have an old friend to run into there. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.

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