On my Way to ALA

I’m getting on a plane tomorrow and heading to my first ever ALA Annual. I’m hoping to meet lots of new people, learn some new things, talk about the library stuff I love (metadata, technology, and metadata), and eat a TON of great food (ok, I will admit, I think I’m more excited about the food in New Orleans than anything else).

Here’s my tentative schedule. If you’re at any of these events and you see me, please say hi!

I’m arriving fairly late in the day, and I’m not planning any ALA-specific things. Just dinner (probably at Acme Oyster House, if anyone wants to join me), and resting up at the hotel for the jam-packed weekend I have ahead of me. This might involve watching all the episodes of Glee I have missed so far.

I’m starting out the day with the LITA Board Orientation, and then sitting in on the first half of the FRBR Interest Group. I’ll be at the OCLC Americas Annual Membership Meeting until 2. I’m hoping to make an appearance at the LITA Open House (and looking forward to meeting some fellow LITA members) before going to the Opening Session with Dan Savage (his book, Skipping Towards Gomorrah, is one of my all-time favorites). I don’t have any dinner plans, but I’m going to have a drink at the LITA Happy Hour at the Howlin’ Wolf Den. So clearly, Friday is OCLC and LITA day.

The session on Library Linked Data is on my schedule, though I may miss the last half of it in order to talk about my SRRT website work at SRRT Action Council I. After lunch, there’s a session on Libraries and Electronic Content Delivery. In the afternoon, I’m torn between attending the MARC Formats Interest Group and the Holdings Forum: Both of these are very directly related to my work. Good thing they’re right next door to each other: Maybe I can just bounce back and forth? I’d like to see the Daniel Ellsburg film showing Saturday night, but I might be in desperate need of a break by that point. At night there’s a Newbie and Veteran Tweet-up at Bar Uncommon, and a late-night (for me) Library Journal Reviewers Reception that I’m going to try very hard to stay up for.

Sunday starts out with a 7 am OCLC Update Breakfast, followed by a meeting of the LITA Publications Committee, which I’ll be part of in the coming year. I’ll be representing CDL at an Open Discovery Initiatives meeting Sunday afternoon. There’s a session on Consulting in Tech Services that I’m kind of interested in, but will likely need to skip in order to rest a bit and have dinner before the Joint Merritt / NMRT Awards Reception, which I’ll be attending because I was on the 3M/NMRT Awards Committee last year and I’d love to meet our award recipients in person.

There’s not a lot on my schedule for Monday; I’m not really sure why ALA always says this conference runs through Tuesday when there are almost no sessions scheduled for either Monday or Tuesday. There’s an OCLC Cataloging Efficiencies session, and Battledecks at night, and of course, exhibits, if I haven’t had time to check them out before. I think Monday will probably be my sightseeing day, so I’m looking forward to the St. Charles Street Car, and a stroll through the French Quarter. I’m not sure what else I should see, so if anyone has suggestions, have at it.

I leave Tuesday afternoon, and the only thing I have planned for Tuesday is beignets at Cafe du Monde, and making sure to eat any delicious food I missed during the week. By this time I’m sure I’ll be anxious to get home to my home and my partner.

I don’t usually like to blog during sessions, although I take copious notes. I’m hoping to have some time at the end of each day to blog about my thoughts, ideas, and impressions, though with this packed schedule, that might all have to happen on the plane ride home. If I don’t pass out immediately from exhaustion.

As a first-time conference attendee, I’m very grateful for the conference tips from Karen Schneider and Bobbi Newman, and will do my absolute best to actually heed their advice, though I have clearly already broken the rule about overextending myself.

More than any of the events, I’m really hoping to make some good connections with people. I feel like I’m finally settled enough in my career and my place in librarianship that I have things to share with others in my field. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I come out of this conference with some new friends, new colleagues, and lots of new ideas.

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