UCLA ALA Student Chapter recently got the inside skinny on professional conferences from the wise and witty Cindy Mediavilla. Our members are gearing up for California Library Association 2010 in mid-November and eagerly anticipating ALA Midwinter in January. The close proximity of ALA Midwinter this year (about 2 hours away in San Diego) in addition to the rumors of library conference ecstacy have UCLA students abuzz with plans. Fortunately for us, we are now mentally prepped after listening to quality tips this past Wednesday's speaker event. If you weren't able to make the talk, we're providing some of the key points below:
When you get to a conference:
Sign in and get a fabulous name tag (with zipper pouch)!
Get a paper program, floor plan and map to get familiar with event locations and start scheduling!
It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with top pick events well in advance of the event.
5 Things to Do at a conference:
Want to go to two programs but there's a schedule conflict? Leave one early, but be sure to sit near the back of the room!
For hot topics, try to get to the program early!
Note: there will be no programs during the ALA Midwinter Meetings
ALA conferences have much bigger exhibits than CLA conferences
Opportunities to interact with vendors
Free books, free bags and sometimes free food
Try to spend at least one day just visiting exhibits
You have the option to save money and get an "exhibit only" pass
Business style meetings to address administration business
Also informal and educational discussion groups
anyone can sit in on the meeting- you don't have to be a member of that group or round table...this is a great opportunity to get a feel for committees.
4) Placement Center
Organizations seeking employees
2010 CLA conference will have Speed Mentoring program
Possibility for on the site interviews, be sure to bring professional attire and copies of your résumé
Good place to network
Check with your workplace beforehand to see if there are any invitations
New Members ALA Roundtable party is always to most fun!
What to Bring
Money for parking and meals
Don't have business cards? Make them! Include name, professional email, phone number,
major/school/specialty; now's a good time to change your e-mail to something other than surferbabe@aol
What to Wear
First impressions are important!
Look professional but stay comfortable
Comfy shoes a must!
Remember you may be meeting future employers/coworkers!
Conference attendees love students!
Answer questions about school
Constantly introduce yourself
Gale shuttle buses are FREE!
Lines to get lengthy during peak hours, plan accordingly
Interested in going to ALA Midwinter? book a hotel ASAP!
For San Diego: consider Embassy Suites (free food during happy hour!)
Conferences offer a chance to better understand library service, gain professional development, and network with working professionals throughout the state and/or country. In today's economy, that conference fee may be well worth the professional contacts. Besides, by all accounts...It's fun!