I've just returned from the NELA (New England Library Association) Conference in Manchester, NH. This was my first conference in a few years and I'm so glad I went! I did things the right way this time; first by splitting a room with two other librarians which equals cheapness, and also by not even trying to pretend I was going to attend sessions relevant to my job or that would help me in my career.
Perhaps it seems like that defeats the purpose of attending a conference, but it doesn't. The fact is that I work in reference, which is boring, and conference programs relating to reference are boring. Also, it's stuff that I could learn elsewhere. So I just passed by all those workshops on genealogy research and government documents and attended the sessions that looked interesting to me.
Here are the highlights:
- Storytelling workshop with Motoko and Eshu. I could have listened to them tell stories for hours!
- Dinner banquet with speaker Simon Winchester. He is a fantastic author and interesting speaker.
- "The Internet is Not Flat" with Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices. He is everything I could want in a presenter - dynamic speaker, multimedia presentation, interesting topic, and plenty of humor
- The Life and Times of Beatrix Potter. Why aren't there more sessions about authors? She had a fascinating life and wrote some of the best-loved books of all time!
- Hot Teen Titles: Sexuality and Teen Fiction. Librarians generally aren't great speakers, but Amy Pattee is funny and animated and did a great job!
- Drop-in Demo: Games and Gaming. I learned how to play Guitar Hero. I have no illusions that this will help me in my job, but it was fun! Apparently, I rock.
- Several of us had dinner with children's author Jarrett Krosoczka who is super nice and totally rocks his argyle sweaters. He has a graphic novel coming out soon, which I am rather excited about.
It was an exhausting three days, but I learned a lot and got to hang out with many fun and interesting librarians. I need to do this on a regular basis to remind myself why I got into this profession!