Top 10 Reasons I Love Conferences

30 Jun

Due to the fact that I took a red-eye back to the East Coast this morning, had just enough time to drive home, shower and get to work, I’ll say I’m not running on all cylinders right now.  I had a parachute storytime this morning that went very well, took a quick nap this afternoon, which may or may not have made my sleepiness level even worse and now I’m back at work for an evening program filled with middle school kids.  This was not my best planning, but as they say in the theatre – the show must go on.  Now that I realize that I might be rambling, I’ll get on with the top 10 reasons why I love attending conferences.

10.) Visiting new places, I always wish I could have extra time when I’m at a conference location to be able to sightsee around the area.  I’ll admit, Las Vegas (and this is merely the strip and conference center area as I didn’t get anywhere else in the area) is not my favorite.  Although, I loved seeing the mountains in the distance.  I am glad I was able to experience Las Vegas, because it’s definitely a sight to see and another place I can cross off my “must-see” list.

9.) Getting out of my comfort zone.  I’m an introvert to the core and it takes a lot for me to be around so many people that I don’t know, all day long.  But, it also forces me to talk to people – while standing in line, on the shuttle bus, or while hanging out in the exhibit hall.  Is it my favorite thing to do… not at all, but making connections and networking is so important and pushing myself is definitely important.

8.) I think part of going to conferences is about seeing how much you’re doing for your profession (besides learning about new ideas and programs).  I love realizing that I’m doing some really great and exciting work in my community.

7.) Sharing ideas with colleagues.  I like being able to come back to my own library with great new ideas that I can share with other librarians who weren’t able to attend the conference.  I truly value new ideas and love to change things around to keep our programs fresh and interesting, so if I find information that could be helpful to a colleague, I always try and pick it up to share!

6.) Picking up ARCs.  I love books, I probably don’t have to say that here, but I do.  And one of the best perks of going to the ALA conferences is picking up ARCs (new books that haven’t been published yet).  I love getting a jump start on the reading that kids will be doing and it helps me in the reference part of my job.

5.) Learning new ideas and discovering new programs.  Conferences are a  great place to learn about what other librarians and libraries are doing and figuring out ways to implement new ideas in your own library.

4.) At this conference, I really made a point to try and talk with publishing houses about the books they’ve been publishing that I have absolutely loved.  Publishers love to hear your opinions and are much more willing to help you find great ARCs if you talk with them for a few minutes.

3.) Geeking out over authors and illustrators is equivalent to most people’s excitement for movie stars.  I’ve gotten books signed by authors whom I’ve admired for a long time and I’ve been able to listen to interviews and programs by authors and illustrators which helps me better understand the ideas behind their books.

2.) I really enjoy meeting (in-person) the people I interact with online through blogs, Twitter, and other social media.  It’s great when you can finally make that connection with people!  And here’s my shout out to the crowd over at Storytime Underground and Jbrary!

And drumroll, please…..  My number one reason I like attending conferences:

1.) Being around a large group of people that have a passion for the same thing you do is exhilarating.  Librarians look, talk, act, and dress differently, but all want people to understand how important literacy is, how much  of a community a library can create and understand the trials and tribulations you face at work.  The library world is filled with passionate individuals trying to make a difference in the world and in my opinion, I think we are.


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