#ALA11 Planning

I am going to New Orleans! Isn’t that nice? Why? Yes, to eat crab and listen to jazz and drink beer in the streets (shhh), but also because it’s the American Library Association conference! I like conferences as a rule. Friendly librarians everywhere! A completely new topic every hour and a half! Free pens! And ALA is the big one, with literally hundreds of sessions, posters, and working group meetings happening every hour. You could say I’m excited. No one would accuse you of hyperbole.

One of the lovely things about my job is how varied it is, with lots of autonomy and room to take initiative on new or existing projects. This means my session choices also tend to be a mixed bag (erratic?). I want (and can justify) checking out all kinds of topics. Ebooks? Yes. Mobile reference service platforms? Absolutely. Open-source citation management workshops? Heck yes. Developing controlled vocabularies to describe the performing arts?


Let’s just say yes!

Figuring out the balance between sessions-that-will-be-immediately-good-to-take-back-to-work and sessions-that-will-fill-me-with-glee is an interesting task. After all, they’re paying for me to be there, and it’s on work time. And one wants to come back brimming with ideas and suggestions and swirly future visions. But on the other hand: I am in this for the long haul, and  I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Two years of library school and a diverse set of practicums and short-term contracts later, I still feel my heart and my enthusiasm pulled in nine different directions. For the time being, there’s no better place for me to be than where I am: I get to do client services, data management, some writing, reference help, project management, and a bit of tech support almost every day. Long-term, I want to think about information management and sharing  in a lot of different ways, beyond the academy. And there’s no better forum for exploring these waters than  the world’s largest library conference!

I’d be interested to hear how others sort through these things and settle any scheduling conflicts. It sounds like such a little thing, but I’m going to wager there are a lot of opinions floating around about just this topic.
Here is what I’m going to see. I think it’s an appropriate mix:

VDX User Group meeting
Dan Savage opening plenary (YESSS!)
Committee on the Future of University Libraries
MBA for Librarians: Leadership
Academic Librarian Lightning Round! Innovative New Roles
Numeric and Geospatial Data Services in Academic Libraries Interest Group
Creating Multimedia Metadata: Controlled Vocabularies Across Time and Space
Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education: Introducing a New Interdisciplinary Information Literacy Standard for 21st Century Learner
Behind the Text: Pulling Back the Curtain on Virtual Reference

And of course I’m going to need to eat a lot of delicious things.

What are you going to see? Will I see you at any of these?

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