Posted by lpearle on 9 October 2005
Conference is over and it’s time to pack and return to my “normal” life. Yes, I’m exhausted and suffering from CRS Syndrome. Yes, my body hurts from sitting on those uncomfortable chairs and flying and walking around with overstuffed bags o’swag. And yes, I’m still a little sick.
But, and this is important: it was totally worth it. And I’ll do it again and again, because going to this conference is an important part of my being a school librarian. It’s not just about the swag (although the new t-shirts and lava lamp are pretty cool – not to mention all the free books), it’s about the opportunity to learn from others. Some, like Doug Johnson and Joyce Valenza, are real superstars; others, like Frances Aley and Lynn Evarts are more like me, just trying to do the best job we can with the tools we have and willing to share a little of “how we do it good” to help others feeling the same stresses and strains we are.
It’s more than just an opportunity to learn from presenters, however: I spent lunch yesterday talking through some of my frustrations with MPOW and feel able to tackle some of the issues I’m facing. Hearing that a friend had had some of the same problems and had worked through them helped.
I’ve made good friends at these conferences, and even though I may not see them for another two years, I know that they’re in my corner professionally, supporting me (as I am in theirs). It was disheartening to hear two people say that one of my favorite events, the ISS get together, turned them off from becoming a more active part of the independent school group (as one said, “it felt like a party to which I wasn’t invited”). Thinking back to my first AASL conference 10 years ago, I can understand that feeling; I think I’ve overcome that somewhat, but I still get that “I don’t belong here” sense when I arrive. It usually lasts until I see my first friendly face and realize that I’m among friends once again.
Final rating: the convention center is one of the top three worst convention centers, but Pittsburgh is one of the top five (and a place I’d like to visit again).