So, conferences. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Let’s focus on each of the three issues of this thing:
Regularly I attend the Nebraska state conference and both Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian. In the past I’ve also attended ALA annual and many different state conferences.
ALA just doesn’t interest me any more. Maybe because I don’t have any meetings to attend and I don’t need to generally talk to any vendors. Granted I’d love to go back for the author meet & greets along with the free books, but I can’t honestly say any of that benefits me professionally.
CIL and IL on the other hand are events that I look forward to, and work by tuchus off in preparation of. Beyond these two events being a great place to learn about what other libraries and librarians are doing in the world of technology, I’ve created many connections and friendships over the years and always love being able to reconnect will colleagues from all over the world.
Speaking of working my tuchus off, I generally speak at both IL and CIL which allows most of my expenses to be covered. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy it but just attending and presenting several sessions are sometimes two very different animals. It’s not that I don’t like presenting but it does generally tend to control your schedule while you’re there.
In addition I’ve spoken at many different state association conferences and an endless number of workshops. The state conferences are sometimes completely different worlds than national conferences which maybe I’ll save my thoughts on for a different post.
However, what I must say is that everyone should present, whether it’s to your follow staff members or starting off at a regional or statewide conference. First, it’ll boot your confidence and second, the more you do it the better you get at it and it’s a great skill to have that can only help your career. If you’re nervous the first time out, find a more experienced presenter and ask if they’d be willing to team up with you on the presentation. I, and most of the other regular presenters I know, started out this way ourselves and would be more than happy to help get someone else started.
Ah, now this one’s new to me. This year I’m the “local liaison” for the Nebraska Library Association end of the NLA/NEMA conference here in Nebraska. It’s been an experience and it’s not quite over so I’m going to save my thoughts on this one until it’s all over. For now, let’s just say that I’m glad I’ve done it but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll ever want to do it again.