It’s always challenging to network at conferences. It takes energy and a fair bit of gumption to introduce yourself to folks, especially if you’re new to the library world. When a conference is virtual, that adds another barrier. So much of networking is based on happy accidents: finding yourself in the same session/bus/elevator as someone else and taking the opportunity to strike up a conversation.
For LibLearnX, the ALSC Membership Committee’s goal is to create an intentional space for happy accidents via Zoom. While it’s not the same as the in person conference events we dream about going back to some day (ALSC 101, small group dinners), we hope it can be a time to make new friends and reconnect with old ones too.
The ALSC Membership Gathering will include information about ALSC, insider perspectives from current BIPOC New Member Funding recipients, 5 minute crash-course presentations from a variety of speakers, and small breakout rooms for more intimate networking and Q&A with speakers.
We invite you to register here to join us on Thursday, January 27th at 3pm PT / 4pm MT / 5pm CT / 6pm ET. All potential and current ALSC members are welcome to join. No LibLearnX conference registration required.
Not sure how to network effectively at a virtual conference? Here are some ideas to get you started. No need to do them all; just pick the ones that resonate with you. Add your networking tips and tricks in the comments!
- Use social media, email, listservs, or other virtual platforms to let people know you’ll be attending the conference and would love to have some virtual conference buddies.
- Connect with your buddies prior to the conference. Ask what sessions they’ll be attending, what speakers they’re excited about, etc.
During the Conference
- Set up a way to chat with your buddies throughout the conference. This could be a group text, Slack, gchat, Discord, etc. It’s more fun to attend sessions when you can share the experience with friends!
- Share and respond on social media. Share your favorite takeaways on the social platform of your choice. If another conference goer posts something you like, let them know. It could lead to a great conversation!
- Attend a networking session (hint hint!).
- Reach out to your new connections. Send an email, DM, text, etc. to say “It was lovely meeting you! Let’s keep talking!”
- Use ALA Connect. If you’re an ALA member, you can send a direct message to any other ALA member via ALA Connect. This can be helpful when you enjoyed talking to someone or loved their presentation, but didn’t catch their email or social media handle.
Currently a co-chair for the ALSC Membership Committee, Amy Seto Forrester is a youth services supervisor at Eugene Public Library (OR). She’s especially dedicated to services and collections for developing readers. Questions about these opportunities or other ways to get involved with ALSC? Email Amy: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog post relates to ALSC Core Competencies of: VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.