How different will it be to gather with a collection of librarians instead of a bevy of breastfeeding counsellors?
ABA conferences inspireI found conferences with the Australian Breastfeeding Association warm, friendly and encouraging. Could that be because members are nurtured in welcoming skills (by example, inclusion and training) from their first contact? Perhaps it was also because we all shared a purpose, and identity - having reached at least a specific stage of training in order to be there.
Of course my own attitude played a huge part too: I was eager and determined to learn all I could to make my own volunteer work more successful. I expected to enjoy an ABA conference because everyone who had been to one spoke positively and excitedly about them. Even that would have been shared though, because going at all was an additional voluntary opportunity.
Discovering ALIA conferencesSo why do I feel a little differently about going to ALIA2012?
- The association is different: ALIA is more heterogenous, sure we share an interest in library and/or information services but that is a very broad field. My evening work hours prevent me attending ALIAVic events so there are few inter-personal relationships involved in my membership. There is no patterned (personal) welcoming behaviour in ALIA. I wonder whether warmer 'welcoming' is something ALIA groups could arrange for members to learn from ABA?
- My position is different. With 18 months of study and unschooling to go, and with a casual and subordinate work-role the distance feels much greater between what I might learn in session and any opportunity to apply it.
- I expect that the content will be drier (no pun intended). Frequently after (other LIS) conferences bloggers bemoan a general lack of vibrancy in presentations.
Orienting myselfNevertheless, having thought back to my ABA experience, I see ways to uplift my attitude and I realise I have been applying some already:
- Signing up for first-timer mentoring;
- Booked to attend the first-timer breakfast and all the social events;
- Paying attention to ongoing discussion around the conference - through ALIABiennial (blog), @ALIAbiennial and #ALIA2012;
- Pre-reading all information on sessions (the program now links to papers) and presenters - I've even browsed online sources about (or discussions of/by) speakers to get a sense of their direction: Keynotes: Alex Byrne, Michael Kirby, Tom Chatfield, Ingrid Parent, Mitchell Whitelaw, Anita Heiss, Matthew Reilly, Richard Glover.
- Discussing the conference with people at work;
- Reminding myself it is okay to be curious and to ask.
Re-reading advice saved earlier (with Delicious/Diigo)Do you just love it when you can use sites you found earlier? Although I had remembered most of the advice, it was still reassuring to refresh and double-check my readiness against:
- 6 tips to prepare for a conference from Kristy Bolsinger;
- David Bentley's Top 10 ways to get the most out of conference;
- Joeyanne Librarianne also offered 10 tips post-LILAC2010 ;
- Chris Brogan recommended 27 things to do before a conference.
Sorting out the technology
- With my Xoom (so I can Skype home, and continue testing its relative handiness):
- its charger and the cable in case I need to re-enable Screenshot It
- New apps Evernote Hello, Blogger, WordPress;
- Games (currently Random Mahjong or Backgammon),
- My Toshiba laptop (for writing up in the evenings (and in case the Xoom dies))
- its charger and a headset in case I need to dictate instead of type.
- with Evernote, Dropbox, Firefox and plugins (Diigo, Zotero, kwout, echofon) updated.
- Mobile phone (although it seems to be dying, will I have time to look for a smartphone?) and of course its charger
- Paper, pens and printouts of schedules - because electronics can die or disappear.