I was a little worried that #ALAVirtual20 would not come close to recharging my library batteries. I am happy to report that while it’s different, it’s pretty good! It’s so great to take two or three (or more if you are lucky) days to immerse yourself in all things library-world, outside of your day to day job. I am always grateful for the opportunities that I get to attend a conference. Sure, I’m not having that full immersion experience, even though I am away from my library office. There are the frequent declarations to my family, “I’m working! Do you see me working?” Hit pause on the recorded session, “We can go for a practice drive in an hour, when I’m done WORKING.” (I have a 16 year old.) I wasn’t interrupted this much in the months that I was working from home when we were under the Stay at Home order. I think my family thinks I’m having fun instead of working. And I am!
Of course I miss the energy of colleagues and friends and the live reactions to speakers. But there is something to be said for the ability to rewind to hear it again. To get the chance to view multiple sessions that might have been concurrent in a live conference. To watch some sessions after dinner or even next week. To stop the recording to look up an author on Good Reads or to put a book on hold. The Annual Conference goes by so fast and I find that I miss some stuff. Back in my hotel room I can’t recall what the speaker said that had me so excited 8 hours ago or, what was the name of that book everyone nodded their heads about? But over the past two days I have reveled in the speakers and the Book Buzzes. I am still getting that same feeling of validation, of inspiration, of being with people who share my values, who value children and their rights to stories, books, information, and imagination.
Another plus is that I’m not exhausted from roaming around convention halls and from carrying sacks of ARCs. Also, snacks and drinks whenever I want. And for most of the time I’ve been in pajamas.
But in seriousness, if this is the new normal, it’s okay. For a while at least. I can’t wait to one day see everyone in person again and to talk shop while we are waiting in line for an autograph from our favorite illustrator.