Q I've been a reference librarian for seven years, and while I've been to a couple of state conferences and continuing-education classes, I've never attended an ALA Annual Conference. My boss will be on maternity leave during this year's conference, however, and she's asked that I go in her place. Since I'll be reporting back to the library of my experience, I want to make the most of it. What advice can you give this first-time conferencegoer?
Old dog ready for new tricks
A While they can be initially overwhelming, with some careful planning ALA conferences can be extremely rewarding. Follow the tips below and be assured you'll have an energizing experience--in fact, you'll likely ask yourself why you didn't go before!
* Look through the preliminary conference program to map out a tentative schedule before you even arrive at your hotel. Be sure to allow for travel time between sessions and for meal breaks. Once at the conference, review the final program to verify your sessions, as times and locations may change.
* An excellent way to get a quick overview of the conference is to attend the New Members Round Table orientation session, Saturday, June 21, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel's Imperial Room.
* Take advantage of the free shuttle buses between conference hotels and the convention center.
* Wear your badge at conference activities but not on the street. You do not want to advertise that you are a tourist.
* Glance at name tags and try C to strike up conversations on shuttle buses, while waiting in line, and during session breaks. You can meet some of the most L interesting people in this manner, and you are likely to make valuable professional contacts.
* Interested in getting involved in committee work, or want to find out more about a specific division or ALA office? Attend one of the committee's sessions or visit the ALA information booth.
* Wear comfortable clothes-- especially shoes. …