Monday, July 13, 2009

ALA 2009

ALA 2009 is over for me and I am still in a hotel waiting to go home. I made it to the airport this afternoon but then they needed people to bump so I volunteered. A free ticket is not to be turned down when I am not on a tight schedule.

ALA 2009 has been a bit of a disappointment for me. I usually come home charged up about new ideas and anxious to try things out. Not so this year. I spent a lot of time on the shuttle bus, in cabs or walking between venues. I missed meetings and sessions I wanted to attend. I had little time for the exhibits. I don’t remember it being so scattered the last time ALA came to Chicago.

As for the sessions I did attend, they were just OK but not the stuff of innovation. I learned nothing really new and much of my notebook is just blank pages. Maybe I have been coming to ALA for so long that I just know everything. No, that certainly is not it. I have a lot to learn. Maybe I just chose the wrong sessions to attend.

The exhibits were so crowded that I didn’t have a great experience during the short time I got there. I couldn’t get close to many of the booths. There were very few ARCs available which is probably a reflection on the economy. And did I mention the people? Lots of them. Everywhere. But just what were they thinking when they randomly stopped in the middle of crowded aisles to have a chat? I don’t remember seeing that happen so often in the past.

So here I sit knowing that my suitcases are closer to home than I and feeling very let down. Unlike many of the attendees I spoke with, this conference pretty much comes out of my own pocket. What did I get for my $1,000? I got to do some committee work for ALA. I got to attend some OK sessions. I don’t really think I got my money’s worth this year. As I spoke with others, I heard the same sentiments from them.

I don’t want to sound as if it was all a bust. I did get to see old friends and meet new ones. I was able to connect with vendors I wanted to talk with. I got to meet some wonderful authors. I will take these positive memories back with me even though I have little in the way of new ideas.

So, the next time ALA is in Chicago, I may just give it a miss. I will be at AASL in Charlotte and midwinter in Boston. Beyond that, I’ll have to rethink where I spend my conference dollars.

1 comment:

plentyo'moxie said...

I didn't realize mid-winter would be in Boston this coming year --- just looked it up to see Jan 15-20. I'm going to try to attend for a day this time - never been to a national conference so hopefully it will be worth my time! Any pointers for mid-winter?