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.