Venn Librarian

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Things I hate about conferences

Posted by lpearle on 24 June 2010

I’ve been going over the ALA schedules, and reading many “how to survive conference” posts (The Free Range Librarian‘s is excellent). Most of these are easy to follow, but this one

Attend a program hosted by an entity outside your usual “space.” If you are an academic librarian, see a PLA program, and so on. You’d be surprised what you can learn, who you meet, and what it feels like to be outside your arena

is a killer.

Why? Because of the way ALA schedules conferences. It’s all I can do to get to sessions within the two divisions to which I belong, let alone go to some of the more interesting things that LITA and PLA and RUSA are presenting. It’d be wonderful if there were no sessions scheduled opposite All-Committee, for example: if you’re not on a committee that’s required to meet, have fun at the exhibits. If all programs from seriously unrelated groups were scheduled for the same time (say, ALSC and ACRL) so that if you’re a member of LAMA you could check them out because there’s nothing from your division scheduled then.

Better yet? Mandate that each division offer a “taste of” program – a 90min overview of that division’s concerns, featuring some of the new/best/brightest thinkers. It could introduce non-members to the work of that division, kind of like “rocks for jocks” or “clapping for credit” introduced geology and music theory to non-scientists and non-music majors.

The thing I really hate about conferences is coming home knowing that I’ve missed out on a lot, because I just can’t be in two (or three, or five) places at once.

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2 Responses to “Things I hate about conferences”

  1. kgschneider said

    Though, you know, kind of a wonderful “bounty” problem!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Buffy Hamilton, Laura Pearle. Laura Pearle said: Things I hate about conferences: http://wp.me/pJFEm-10x […]

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