ALA Midwinter 2012

Your Guide to #ALAMW12 (whether you’re in Dallas or not)

ALA Midwinter Conference in Dallas is nearly upon us! Whether you’re in the midst of planning your schedule and deciding on which comfy shoes to pack or staying behind to keep the library running while your colleagues go off to have all the fun, here are some tips for getting the most out of this Midwinter:

Stay Connected

Join the conversation from the exhibit floor or from your couch by following the Twitter hashtag #alamw12. For Monday morning’s highly anticipated Youth Media Awards, follow #alayma or check out the Facebook page. Don’t forget to bookmark the site for YMA’s live webcast (there are 10,000 virtual seats available on a first come basis.) Follow @alamw for official info and updates. Here on the ALSC Blog and @alscblog, we’ll be posting daily “microblogs” to give you an inside view of events, exhibits, and more.

Don’t Get Lost

Google Map for hotels, Dallas Convention Center, and shuttle bus routes.

ALA Hotel Map & Information

Shuttle Bus Schedule

DART Schedules and Maps

Use the ALA Connect Conference Scheduler to be on time and in the right room.

Must Dos

Have you ever wished to be a fly on the wall during an award committee meeting? ALSC members who’ve never sat in on a Notables discussion are in for a treat. If you have an hour or so, stop by for any of the three open Notables discussions:  Books, Recordings, Videos. (For those not attending the conference, you can check out the discussion lists.) Sitting in the audience at the Notables discussions has consistently been a favorite ALA activity for me. The sheer number of titles being debated is impressive and rather awe-inspiring. You will hear detailed critiques and  passionate assessments from some of the smartest librarians in the country and you’ll come away with a deeper appreciation for materials evaluation (as well as a great collection development list.)

PC Sweeney just put up the ALA Think Tank’s Partyhard Guide to the official and unofficial ALA meetups and fun social events. Of particular interest to ALSC members may be the YA Lit Trivia Night FUNraiser (Friday, 8-10pm, Omni Hotel, Dallas Room B), the New Members Round Table Social, the Newbie & Veteran Tweet Up, and for the real nighthawks among us, the After Hours Social.

John Green. Need I say more? Just in case: he’ll be speaking as part of the Auditorium Speaker Series on Sunday at 10am. Follow him on Twitter @realjohngreen.

Hear about the latest and upcoming titles from publishers at the Book Buzz Theater on Saturday and Sunday.

The YMAs. It’s our Oscars! Get in line early and prepare to clap your hardest and cheer your loudest. As mentioned above, those not in attendance can follow all the action from home via Twitter, Facebook, or the live webcast.

Rock out with Lisa Loeb for the Wrap Up Rev Up on Monday at 2pm! You can follow her @LisaLoeb.

Must Eats

If you’re in Dallas and don’t take time to enjoy some world-class Tex-Mex, then you may not have a soul. Check out UrbanSpoon’s list of downtown Dallas restaurants. The Convention Bureau also put together an itinerary of places to visit and great restaurants around Dallas. Tacos, margaritas, and librarians: it’s a delicious triple threat.

The Seemingly Obvious

Comfy shoes. The importance of packing at least two pairs of shoes that won’t have you crying and limping home to your hotel at the end of the day cannot be overstated. Certainly, you’re going to be meeting lots of people and you want to look you’re best. And Dewey knows that those vertically challenged among us often rely upon a few inches in the heel to achieve our most confident self. Tough. Leave them home so you won’t be tempted. Flats, a slight wedge, and/or a cute pair of boots are much more practical. This goes for guys, too. Make sure your shoes have enough arch support and don’t squish your toes. It’s gonna be several long days of walking, standing, and walking some more.

Bring business cards. At the first ALA conference I attended, I forgot to bring my business cards. Why? Clearly, I was overly focused on packing the correct footwear. I spent a lot of time awkwardly scribbling my contact info on scraps of paper and free bookmarks. Don’t make the same mistake. In fact, bring extras. You’ll wind up giving out more cards then you thought possible.

Don’t forget your chargers. Phone, laptop, tablet, robot assistant. Charge them up at night before you go to bed. If you have the time, look into getting a nifty external battery pack that can charge your device on the go.

Check out Librarian by Day’s ALA Survival Guide. She’s compiled some excellent tips on everything from what to pack to how to meet new people. Great advice to be had.

Along with several other ALSC bloggers, I’ll be microblogging here and tweeting my own ALA adventures as much as possible. Whether in person or virtually, have a great time this Midwinter!



  1. PNY

    Do you know if any of the Notable Books discussion will be available to non-attendees either via transcript (later on) or via streaming video/audio? I am very curious to hear the debates. 🙂

    1. Kathy Isaacs

      There are no official plans to record or stream the discussions, but everyone who attends the conference is welcome to come listen.

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