ALA Part I: Thursday and Friday

It’s been nearly a week since I returned from ALA, and I am still exhausted. As I mentioned before this was my first library conference and I could not have picked a better conference or location.

ALA2008 ALA2008

I arrived in Anaheim Thursday afternoon, registered and received my orange tote, unpacked, ironed, and sorted out the 60lb box of handouts and presentation supplies that I had shipped to my hotel. Later that evening I had dinner with Helene Blowers and Melanie Huggins (both former PLCMC colleagues) in downtown Disney.

Friday morning I presented along Betha Gutsche, Catherine Vaughn, and Thomas Galante at the preconference session: Competencies For Your Staff: From Implementation to Integration. You can find links to all the handouts and presentation slides on the ALA Presentation Wiki.

It was a packed house! Lots of great questions and interaction between the participants. A big virtual round of applause to Janie Hermann for coordinating this session and Pat Taviss for moderating. When you have this many trainers facilitating a session you can be assured that it will be energizing and engaging with active participation.

Friday was my daughter’s first birthday and I tried not to think too much about it. I ran into another former PLCMC colleague Warren Graham and his wife. Ironically it was their son’s first birthday too.

Warren Graham and family

This made me miss my little one even more. But it wasn’t until my husband uploaded this video to Flickr that it really hit me! I have lots of thoughts on having a career and being a mom but that’s for another post.

Friday night Paul Signorelli organized an informal dinner for a group of fellow library trainers. We had some wonderful conversations about learning, the need to stop reinventing the wheel, and whether customer service can actually be taught in an online classroom. Interestingly enough I “met” Paul through a comment on this site back in February. Since then we’ve emailed and IM’d quite a bit. By the time I met Paul at dinner it was like seeing a familiar friend. There are stories like these throughout ALA and I’m sure other conferences. For me this example helps cement the value of online social networking. Especially when library “trainers” are so scattered throughout the field. It helps to stay connected with others who share the same day-to-day experiences as you.

About Lori Reed

Lori Reed, coauthor of Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Non-Profit Trainers, is a learning and communication strategist with more than twenty years experience in learning and development. A 2009 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and a 2010 "One to Watch" for paralibrarians, Lori graduated cum laude from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. Lori is a certified Synchronous Learning Expert and a North Carolina Master Trainer and has traveled across North America speaking about libraries and training.


  1. Great report on the first couple of days. I feel as if I were there–oh, wait, I was there, and I have to say that I think you really nailed it when you talked about the feeling of seeing familiar friends and cementing the relationships trainer-teacher-learners are continuing to establish around the country. Can hardly wait to see the next installment so I can see how this all turns out.

  2. Thanks for the report on ALA. I have been waiting for your take since the conference.

    Now when you come to Computers in Libraries next year……

  3. Maurice…I already have CIL on my calendar for next year. I’m sad that I’m going to miss IL this fall but I can’t miss another big family event.

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