ALA Midwinter 2020

#ALAmw20 – Day 1 Review

Here I am – at another ALA Midwinter conference!

Duck and VBF
20 years of Duck!

I am so excited to be here – confession…Midwinter is one of my favorites. Mostly because of the Youth Media Awards announcement on Monday. I have noticed a pattern for myself on the first day of any national conference, however. At some point (usually during the Exhibit Hall opening), I hit a wall. I cannot really have an intelligent conversation with anyone and I find myself just sort of wandering around, usually stuck in some sort of librarian book-frenzy traffic. Do you feel this way too?

The first day of anything is hard, so if you are a first time attendee of this conference, make sure you take time to recharge and get away from the hoards of people and vendors. Self-care, especially during cold and flu season, is very important. Go to your room. Take a nap. Eat an orange. Do this everyday of conference, not just the first day, by the way.

Librarians waiting.
Waiting for the Exhibit Hall to open.

Why do I continue to keep going until I hit this wall? Because it is so worth it – the excitement of everyone waiting for the Exhibit Hall to open is enough to perk you up a little. It is kind of fun to be stuck with a bunch of librarians who are running to a particular booth to see if a much anticipated ARC will be available. I am certain the opening speaker was wonderful, but my travel plans did not give me time to attend that first session. After a full day of travel and the Exhibit Hall, I was ready to grab some sushi and go to bed!

And now I am looking forward to (and ready for) a full Day 2!


Valerie Byrd Fort is an Instructor at the University of South Carolina for the School of Library & Information Science. She teaches courses related to children’s materials and school libraries. 

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