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Friday, June 24, 2011

Karin Slaughter Wrap-Up and ALA National Conference

Sorry no post yesterday.  I was running the Karin Slaughter program all day.  She was great by the way. Very personable, funny, and really LOVES the public library.  We also had a great turn out, including another author, Gillian Flynn.

The good news is you don't just have to take my word for it.  A crew taped the entire thing and will be making a video to go up on Library Journal.com shortly.  I will pass on the link when it is available.

The event went well enough, that Kathy and I are considering seeking out future author appearances (if the conditions are right) for the BPL.  I'll keep you posted.

But back to the real world today, and for many of my friends and fellow librarians that means traveling to New Orleans for the ALA National Conference.  I know two people who are stuck in airports right this minute.

Although I will not be there myself, I have been before and know that a successful conference requires planning.  For what it is worth, I will share my advice today.  Also, if you are not attending, remember, many of the presenters make their presentations available online for anyone to access. Next week, I will highlight some of these.
  • Here is the direct link to the website for the conference.
  • Read CogNotes each day!
  • Follow the official Twitter hashtag for the conference #ala11.  I am following even though I am not there.  This will keep you "in the know" in real time.
  • Please make sure to give yourself at least 2 separate times (preferably on 2 different days) to go through the exhibits.  The exhibit area is huge, but useful.  Talk to the vendors, you may learn a lot.  Also, stop at the booths of the smaller presses.  They are more willing to chat, and you will learn about books you may be missing.  I have made some great contacts this way.
  • Yes some big authors will be there signing books, but ask yourself, is my time best spent standing in line for 2 hours to shake Neil Gaiman's hand, or should I use that time to go to a program and/or see more of the exhibits.  This is the exact choice I was faced with at ALA in Chicago.  I love Neil Gaiman, but I did not wait in line.  Instead, I did go to see more exhibits, and with a huge number of people in line for Gaiman, I got a lot more done with smaller crowds.
  • Try a program that is just outside your area of experience.  I always go to at least one Reference based program.  Not only am I exposed to something new, these tangential program often allow me to look at my RA service from a different perspective.  It helps you to think outside of the box and reassess your services from another angel.  Try it.
  • Finally, if I had to pick one "not to miss" program, it would be Readers' Advisory Research & Trends Forum: What We Learn From Our Readers: A conversation with Nancy Pearl and Catherine Sheldrick Ross, moderated by Joyce SaricksClick here for details.  Joyce will also be accepting the Margaret Monroe Award on Sunday.
If you are going, have a great time.  My cousin just graduated from library school and is making her first trip.  ALA Annual is tiring but fun.  Every library worker should have a chance to go once in their career.

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