Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Things I like at conferences

Posted by lpearle on 26 June 2007

You know, it isn’t just about the swag (although that’s certainly something to cheer about), or the fun cities (where I only really experience the hotels, the conference center and a few restaurants). It’s the people that keep me coming back. These are people that I share a career/vocation with, that I enjoy spending time with, and who understand many of the pressures and issues I face on a daily basis. They’re funny and fun to be around.

I also like the idea of learning from peers. Conferences are less than formal education, but more than on-your-own. For example, hearing Maureen Sullivan on Friday started some wheels turning. As the conference went on, I heard at least three other people – in presentations – talk about having her come and lead a workshop/session at their local LA or job. It’s fashionable to talk about synergy, but that’s what happens at conferences: coincidences that seem somehow planned. A random person you stand in line with tells you about some fabulous new product, or idea. And then you hear more about it and – wow – I really need to get/use this.

Most of my library life has been spent in a One Person Library, and conferences give me the opportunity to feel more a part of the group. Yes, there are problems with conferences, but overall, if I didn’t like ’em, I wouldn’t come back.

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One Response to “Things I like at conferences”

  1. Anonymous said

    I’d like to hear your thoughts about how ALA could use Ning more effectively. I’m trying to get to a point where I can blog more regularly on the ALA Members network (http://alamembers.ning.com/), but sites like Ning seem better suited to issues than ambiguous topics like “ALA.” As we begin exploring a social network, I consider Ning to be a sandbox for this, but we haven’t had much reaction to it from members, so specific feedback (especially there on the site where we could have a larger discussion) is welcomed. :)- Jenny Levine, ALA

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