ALA Midwinter 2018

Tips for a Midwinter First Timer

ALA’s Midwinter Conference is almost here! (in case you couldn’t tell from all the other posts). Midwinter is actually one of my favorite conferences.  While Midwinter has been described as “not as glitzy as Annual” to me, a lot of important work goes on, and I don’t just mean the Youth Media Awards.    Committees meet, seminars like the Morris are held, and you get a chance to here from different ALA groups speak. 

But, if this is your first time attending, it can feel daunting and intimidating, especially if you aren’t on a committee.  Below are some tips that I have for you, if it’s your first Midwinter.

  • Go to the ALSC Welcome Dinner!    This is a great way to meet ALA staff and other ALSC members in an informal setting.  The best part?  Almost everyone is attending their firsts conference.  Maybe one day we’ll have an ALSC Dinner for old and new!  If that exists will someone tell me?
  • If you were invited to a preview breakfast or lunch by a publisher, go!  Not only do you get to hear about books and snag a bite, but you usually end up sitting with people you don’t even know.  Giving you the opportunity to meet others.
  • Go to the Leadership & ALSC discussion.  This was one of the most influential sessions for me at my first Midwinter.  I learned so much about ALSC and the direction in which librarianship was moving, and learn about current issues.
  • Use the Midwinter website to check out things ahead of time.   If you’re one of those people like me who prefers a print copy, then I urge you to cross-reference the program you receive at registration.  Often if a location is changed, that information is updated on the site, or can be found through another means of communication advertised on the site. While some of the meetings and programs are closed to those not the committee, there are many open programs, and I encourage you to attend ones for topics that interest you.
  • There will be ARCs and give aways.  The world will not end if you do not get them all.  My first set of conferences (Midwinter and Annual), I sent home 8 boxes of ARCs.  I was still in school then too, so I think I thought “I’m going to read everything!”  Nonetheless, there will be a lot of stuff, but don’t feel obligated to take it all.  And if you do, that’s okay too!  Just know that there is a Post Office inside the Exhibits Hall where you can send things back to yourself.
  • Have fun! It sounds corny, but you will remember this experience, and all that you learn.  Midwinter is a great time to meet other Librarians and develop a better understanding of ALA and ALSC.
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    If this is your first time attending Midwinter and you’d like to meet up and attend some sessions together or grab a bite, please feel free to send me a message!

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