I attended the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference on Saturday, January 25. This was my first time going to ALA; in the past, it was further away, which made it cost prohibitive. When I heard that this year’s conference was in Philadelphia, I decided to hop a Greyhound and see what all the fuss was about.
I ended up purchasing an exhibits only pass rather than participating in the full conference. Having just started a new job, I didn’t have the energy for more than a day trip, and I didn’t want to take any time off work. While the exhibit hall was worthwhile, I know that I missed a lot of conversations during the conference itself that would have been valuable to me as a librarian.
Luckily, some awesome librarians (and I’m looking at you, @MissKubelik) were live-tweeting some of the sessions, so I at least got a general idea of some of the discussions that were taking place. I also got to talk with other librarians while sitting in the hallway charging my phone and/or taking breaks from wandering the exhibits.
I’ll end up writing a post later on comparing and contrasting the exhibits halls at both ALA and BEA. For now though, suffice to say that the exhibits were filled with wonderful books and with wonderful people. I was able to thank Elisabeth Elo personally for the guest post that she wrote for me last week, and I got to meet several other new-to-me authors. I came away with a nice stack of books that I’ll be reviewing over the next couple months and will discuss in more detail soon.
I got to meet some vendor representatives that I’d heard a lot about and corresponded with at my last job. It was nice to be able to put a face to a name. Of course, now that I’m a digital librarian, I won’t be working with the same types of vendors as in the past, but it’s still nice to network. I was surprised how many people at the conference were from the DC area, and I hope to run into some of them again.
My trip to ALA was an overwhelming positive experience, and my only regret is not being able to have experienced even more of the things that it had to offer.