Is this your first ALA Annual Conference? Good for you! I still remember my first Annual Conference, both as a participant/student (Chicago, 2009) and a staff member (New Orleans, 2011). Even though I was working in New Orleans, the 2009 Annual Conference may have been tougher. Why? Because I didn’t know these secrets!
Here are some tips below for first-time conference goers:
Grab Free Stuff
The Exhibits Hall is a great place to pick up posters, pens, pencils, catalogs, and other materials from publishers and library vendors. Many publishers sell copies of their front list titles but if you wait until Monday, the last day of exhibits, you can often purchase these at a discount! There is a post office located on the exhibits floor allowing you to bypass the hassle of lugging your goodies home. If you take anything remember to be grateful/thankful!
Sit in on a Board Meeting
To get a sense of the issues and concerns of the division, plan to attend an ALSC Board meeting or any of the open committee meetings. Many of the award committees have closed meetings, but most of the others are open to attendees.
Attend Newbery-Caldecott Banquet
Most ALSC members will tell you that one of the highlights of Annual Conference is the Newbery Caldecott Banquet, at which this year’s award winning authors and illustrators are recognized. Tickets for the Banquet must be purchased from ALA ahead of time, but you are welcome to come listen to the speeches at 8 p.m. for a small donation. The banquet is taking place on Sunday, June 24 at the Anaheim Marriott.
Use Conference Scheduler
If you have access to the internet, you can track all of your meetings and programs using ALA’s handy conference software, the Conference Scheduler. For more information, visit http://ala12.scheduler.ala.org.
Get Your Conference Program
As soon as you get to Annual Conference, be sure to pick-up the Conference Program Book. This handy guide will tell you when and where programs and events are taking place, listed by both track (subject area) and day/time. Most ALSC programs are listed under the “Children and Young Adult” track along with AASL and YALSA programs. The Program Book also includes announcements of author/illustrator appearances and signings.
Besides featuring articles on conference activities and upcoming events, the ALA’s daily conference newspaper, Cognotes, is your go-to guide for changes and cancellations. Be sure to grab one of these every morning near the Convention Center entrance or from a greeter.
Visit the ALSC Booth or Volunteer!
Stop by the ALSC Booth on the exhibit floor for a Committee Volunteer Form, a member ribbon, and or one of ALSC’s 2012 giveaway. You might also run into a friendly volunteer who will be staffing the booth. That person could be you if you sign up to work the booth!
By All Means…Go to ALSC 101
If you’re a first-time conference goer, there is simply no good excuse for skipping ALSC 101.