Friday, July 3, 2015

I'm Baaaaaack!!!!! Part 1--Top 10 thoughts about attending a huge conference

I got home from ALA Tuesday night, spent the whole day Wednesday in the city, tried to pull myself together yesterday and here we are today.  I know that these posts about the conference will trickle in because I just can't say it all in one post.  Today will be my Top 15 words of wisdom about attending ALA (or really any other huge 20,000 participant conference!)

  1. Business Cards--Yes, it's good to bring them.  Yes, it's nice that mine were bright red.  But no, I did not need 500 of them at all.  I was getting into the habit of handing them out and then saying, "Please take one and then recycle it if you like."  Don't be shy--do hand them out but I'm not sure how many people I really expected to meet.  I thought my Twitter followers would increase exponentially.  Hmmmm....not.  I did make some new friends (yes, that's you, Carole) and having my card certainly came in handy there.
  2. Businees Cards part 2--When YOU get a business card, write down something to remind you of the person who gave it to you.  That way, when you get home, you know who they are.  I am finding myself making those notes now, which is a bit challenging.
  3. Wear funky clothes and you will get noticed!  Unless you don't want to, then wear clothes that will blend in.
  4. Don't be shy.  Just start talking to everyone.  Look down and see where they are from on their name tags.  I found myself almost wanting to ask someone at the store today where they were from and asking what kind of librarian they were,  thinking I was still at ALA.  Ha!  I caught myself before I embarrassed myself!
  5. Pack a box, packing tape and scissors, if you think you will be mailing things home.  I actually packed an extra duffle bag and brought two suitcases. I filled everything up and didn't have to pay for shipping or anything.  Take Southwest--2 bags fly with you for free.
  6. Plan on no sleep, really and truly.  You get in after midnight and then have to get up at 6 the next morning.  
  7. Unless you are a super dedicated runner, you won't work out.  I packed outfits to work out three times and I didn't run once.  Good luck to me tomorrow in a 4 mile race.
  8. Plan only the author signings that you really want and go to the exhibit hall then.  The rest of them will fall into your lap if you are around.  And, if you see a book that you've been eyeing from blogs and early reviews, ask the publisher and they may give you a book before it's even the signing time.
  9. If someone says, "Come to this party/event/etc"  GO.  You never know what you will find and who you will meet.  Saturday night my friend, Susan, took my under her wing and we ended up at four events/parties and it was truly a fun and memorable evening.  
  10. Everyone looks "geeky" carrying those bags so it's all good.
  11. Know that you will be using multiple means of transportation to get everywhere.  (See #9) I used Uber for the first time, traveled in lots of cabs, walked and used the shuttle, too.
  12. Bring your own water bottle, granola bars, snacks.  I brought some of those squeeze apple sauces from Trader Joes and they were perfect for a quick sugar rush.   
  13. If you make a couple of friends, you're golden.  (See #2--don't forget to get your new friend's card and write a note on it to remember who they are).
  14. Room in your suitcase is premium.  Check the weather.  I really didn't need to bring an umbrella to California.
  15. Clear out your iPhone space--You need to be able to take pictures immediatley.  OR bring a back up camera.  And if someone else takes a picture of you with their phone/camera have them text it to you right away or get their card and (See #2).
  16. And just HAVE FUN! 

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