Ok so last weekend was the big conference that I posted about earlier. And let me tell you- it was FANTASTIC!! I had such a great time. It definitely helped that my friend from school, Kate, was there to enjoy it all with along with another friend, Alissa. I think it was good we had each other to explore with.
American Library Association Annual Conference 2010
It was also just so nice to meet all of these other people who shared my passion and goals. I mean to have a conversation with a 60 yr old school librarian from Oklahoma about politics and to realize our views were so similar pretty much sums up how the whole weekend went. The whole weekend just solidified for me that I made the right decision when choosing this new career. And I’m so excited to be a part of this amazing group of professionals.
I also have to give a big thank you to my hosts in Bethesda. They were wonderful and really made the whole experience a fantastic one by shuttling me around and giving me a great place to stay all weekend.
So here is a quick little rundown of what I did and saw day by day. And a link to my pictures from the weekend is here.
Went to a workshop on Careers in Federal Libraries. It was incredibly interesting and informative. We heard from people who work at the Department of Veteran Affairs, National Library of Medicine, State Department, Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, US Army, Government Printing Office, as well as two fellows from the Presidential Management Fellows program (keep posted to this space for more on this).
It was an invaluable way to spend the morning. Very happy I made it to the event. Got me pretty pumped about the possibility of working for the government when I complete my degree.
I then met up with my friend Kate. We walked from the Capital all the way to the Lincoln Memorial. In the heat. But it was really great. Kate had never been to DC so it was great to see the sites through her eyes. I mean I’m already in love with the city so it was fun to see her see everything. We then headed back to the Library of Congress to check out the Reading Room. Amazing.
Friday night I went to a mentoring social where I met my conference mentor. This was an event organized in advance by the New Members Round Table. He gave me a lot of good advice for navigating the exhibit hall.
Saturday started bright and early with a Conference 101 program put on by the New Members Round Table. It was an interesting introduction to the conference and to ALA. And I met another library student and we decided to hit the exhibits together which was nice.
The exhibits are crazy. Free books left and right. Heaven. I was greedy and took everything. I was warned against this. I looked like a newbie. I did not care. 🙂 I was still able to fit everything in my suitcase and not go over the weight limit so I consider that a success!
Saturday afternoon we headed to the Grand Ballroom to hear Toni Morrison give the opening address. It was incredible. I was so moved by what she had to say. She absolutely gave me even more inspiration to complete this program.
The busy day was capped off with a delicious Thai meal with my gracious Bethesda hosts.
Started the day with a talk by Dave Isay the founder of StoryCorps. If you don’t know about this incredible program please check out the link. It is basically capturing “our” stories. He was a great speaker and shared some really touching stories from StoryCorps. Was so happy to have had the chance to see him.
I then headed back into the exhibits hall to see the poster from the Nicaragua libraries that I had visited. And many of my pictures were used it. Very exciting!
Kate, Alissa, and I then went off to Chinatown and were lucky enough to have some dim sum at Tony Chang’s. It was so good. Kate and I really went to town. Alissa just watched in amazement at our endless bellies. Very good times.
It was then back to the exhibits hall to see Jim Breuer and Roy Blunt Jr. give author talks. Win! Also scored a signed book from Roy Blunt Jr. Double win!
Kate and I then made our way to a happy hour hosted by one of the many vendors. We met some awesome librarians and just had a really good time.
For my last day in DC I was on my own and decided to finally head to some programs. For the first I decided to go out of my range a bit and went to one entitled, “PHAT Fiction: Engaging Hip-Hop Literature in the Public Library.” Amy Patee from Simmons was one of the panelists along with other profs, teachers, librarians, authors. It was very interesting and I learned a lot about a totally new to me genre. I don’t read a lot of Young Adult books so I thought maybe I would start with some of the names the panel talked about. My “to-read” list gets ever longer!
I grabbed some lunch and headed to see Marilyn Johnson speak about her incredible book “This Book is Overdue” about how librarians will save us all. Go run and get this book if you haven’t read it yet. Just awesome.
The last program I headed to was “For the Love of Reference.” The speakers were Nancy Pearl, Joe Finder, and Pete Bromberg. It was really great hearing from these speakers and again, they kind of light the fire in me about reference and all things I’ve started to love about my future career. It ended with a great piece from Andy Woodworth about why he loves his job and reference. I just want to thank all of the speakers for your wonderful words of inspiration.
So that was my conference. Please be in touch if you would like to know more about anything I did. I was trying to keep this somewhat short. ha!
And now time to enjoy the 4th of July weekend!