I’m fortunate enough to be able to attend ALA’s Midwinter conferences, but as a new member of ALSC and a fairly quiet person, I know how easy it is to feel a bit lost in the shuffle. Large networking events can be overwhelming, and I always find it challenging to strike up conversations in a crowded room.
Last Midwinter, as a member of the ALSC Membership Committee, I hosted a small group dinner. It was one of the most enjoyable and valuable experiences I’ve had at a conference. Reservations were made by the Membership Committee at nearby restaurants, with the number of attendees limited to small groups.
Among my group were both new and long-time ALSC members with a variety of backgrounds and levels of involvement in ALSC. We got to know one another, talked about the upcoming conference, and even discussed some challenges we were facing at work. I loved being able to put faces to names I’d seen on Twitter. I’d even learned about one attendee’s work while I was in library school!
Membership Committee members Tanya Prax and Jennifer Knight both enjoyed learning about library services in other parts of the country, while Tess Prendergast was glad to offer advice to other attendees about how to get involved in ALSC. “As an ALSC staff member,” writes Elizabeth Serrano, “so much of our work is done virtually and through email, [so the dinner is] a nice opportunity for me to have that human interaction.”
If you’re attending the ALA Midwinter 2020 conference in Philadelphia, I encourage you to consider signing up for the Midwinter Dinner. Anyone can attend—you needn’t be a member of ALSC—but space is limited, so don’t hesitate! Dinner will take place on Friday, January 24 at 6:30 PM, at various Philadelphia restaurants.
As Jennifer notes, it’s “a nice way to kick off the conference!”
Madeline Tyner is a librarian and works at the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madeline wrote this post as a member of the ALSC Membership committee.
This post addresses ALSC Core Competency VII, Professionalism and Professional Development.