It’s June, So That Must Mean Conferences

It’s midway through June already.  Hard to believe that half our year is already past. June is a great time to pull out our Performance Agreements (or objectives for the year) and review where we stand with regard to the projects we contracted to perform this year.

Also a common activity in June is the attendance at professional conferences. National Annual Conferences for SLA, ALA, ASEE  all meet in June and librarians are flying hither and yon to attend them all.  Many of us will be presenting or participating in poster sessions at these conferences as well as completing national committee tasks and attending the presentations of others.  Below are a few tips from other conference goers to consider as you prepare for your next big conference:

  • Oxford Royale Academy posted “How to Survive Your First Academic Conference“.  While it is targeted to undergraduate students, it offers noteworthy tips for new librarians as well.
  • Edtage Insights prepared this short article on “8 Tips for presenting a paper at an academic conference”  It offers some basic ideas to keep in mind to make your conference presentation flow and connect better with  your audience.
  • In 2007, Vega and Connell wrote a still timely study “Librarians’ Attitudes Toward Conferences: A Study” which was published in CR&L News.  I found their survey interesting reading.
  • Interested in finding a subject-specific conference to attend instead of one of the big librarian conferences?  Karen MacDonald and Robert Tomaszewski of Georgia State University wrote a 2009 article for the Journal of Academic Librarianship on just this topic.  Identifying Subject-specific Conferences as Professional Development  Opportunities for the Academic Librarian is well worth a read.
  • The Free Range Librarian had a great post in 2010 for ALA goers.. ALA Conference Survival Tips – 35 Conferences Later.  She has some valuable insights no matter which conference you plan to attend.
  • And I would be remiss if I didn’t add a few (possibly unusual) tips of my own to the mix:
    1. Pack a laundry bag to separate worn clothes from those you did not wear.  I have been known to use a scented plastic drawstring trash bag for this purpose.  They are also great to have in situations where you have wet shoes or umbrellas to pack for home.
    2. Consider packing a few new baggies in various sizes.  They can be great substitute ice bags for tired feet or aching legs and ice is always available at hotel snack areas.
    3. Evernote is your conference friend too! Easily added to your phone and computer, Evernote can be a great place to store your conference notes.  Take pictures/scan handouts and upload to Evernote to get rid of excess paper and to keep all your notes organized.  You can photo business cards too and annotate them in Evernote so you know who and why you collected them.
    4. If you prefer to go old school instead of scanning, take a 8 1/2 by 11 manila envelope and keep all your conference receipts/ airline stubs/ hotel bills etc together until you can file for reimbursement.
    5. If you have room and expect to collect a good bit of freebies at the vendors, put a flat mailing box in the bottom of your suitcase.  It doesn’t take up much room, but can be a great help for last minute  mail-home-instead-of-carry-it options.  They will have them at the conference post office, but it is more time consuming to get them then.
    6. Pace yourself.  A conference can be a long exhausting week.  But it can also be very rewarding as well.
  • What Have I left out?  Got a conference article or tip you’d like to share?  Now’s the time.  🙂

Wishing everyone a successful conference month!

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