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Chicago: There and back again

Instead of catching up with Google Reader (which is always the first social medium I let slide, particularly on my netbook, where it’s annoying to navigate), I thought I’d write up a brief post about ALA. You know, to stuff up all of your Google Readers. ;)

I admit, I was a little less star-struck this year than last. Part of that might be the location—Chicago’s more spread out, with a lot more noise and traffic, than Anaheim—and part might be that I had a miserable cold and therefore took it a lot slower than I normally would. (If I didn’t have seven other people depending on me to show up to the Book Cart Drill Team championship, I would have bowed out. I was so very, very sick. I’m still not feeling great.) Alternately, it could be the fact that I am almost a librarian, myself, now, where last year I was a library assistant who hadn’t begun the MLIS. Not to say library assistants don’t have valid opinions! I was just, you know, unnecessarily timid.

At any rate, I did attend some sessions. The bright shining star out of the ones I attended was definitely LITA’s Content Management Systems panel. I thought it was very educational and fairly practical. I wish I could have gone to more LITA events—I was too tired to make Friday’s Open House and Happy Hour and too busy with prior commitments (mostly NMRT and Book Cart stuff) to make most of the others. I’ll catch them virtually, though.

As far as other conference activities, I staffed the NMRT booth for an hour, which is definitely enjoyable! Upon further consideration, I should probably not have signed up for the morning after I arrived; I had to orient myself within the Exhibit Hall super fast, to help others get around. I definitely enjoyed it, though! How fun is that, staffing an information desk at a library conference?!

The NMRT Awards Ceremony and Networking Night went off without a hitch—though I was a little disappointed that so few Pitt students came. There were awards, there was networking, there were cute mini-fans and pinwheels—good times! In talking to the LITA rep (the fabulous Mike Bolam), I confirmed that, yes, I do need to join LITA, because it is both member-driven and welcoming. I’ll get on that before studenthood and low prices fade away. And, finally, I made some new fun library friends and went out for a couple of drinks after the official festivities had died down—bad for the cold, good for the morale.

I also got to talk to a vendor for “real business” for the first time. Unfortunately, the Serials Solutions 360 preview—of the update that’s coming out soon—coincided with our departure time from Chicago, but I got the rep’s card, and they are apparently very good about hosting frequent webinars.

So, conference was good. I should have stayed home and visited Student Health (I’m calling them later today), but I definitely did learn and network and do all of those things that conference lets us do.

I’m pretty excited about my new committee appointments (NMRT switches around committees every year). I’ll be either chairing or co-chairing NMRT’s Student and Student Chapter Outreach (SASCO) committee, which, as a new grad, I guess I’m extra able to do. And I’ll be on the NMRT Web committee, as well, which is pretty exciting!

I’ll make another post, this week or next, with news!

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