Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I'm still at my office until later this afternoon when I leave for Iowa City, the first stop on my way to Minneapolis for the Public Library Association's 2008 National Conference. As usual, I packed more than I wanted to and still feel like I didn't pack enough. For this conference, I have the added joy of driving up four other librarians who we couldn't place on the 55-passenger travel bus my office helped to organize. I pick my first load up tomorrow at 6 a.m., my last person up about an hour later, and then we'll be on our way. This will be my first time in Minneapolis, so I've armed myself well with maps to help me get around. I only hope there won't be much traffic around lunch time tomorrow.

This conference is going to be a busy one for me as I'm trying to cram in as many programs as I can, as well as touching base with some vendors regarding products my office uses and book publicists I began relationships with back at Midwinter. For those of you who are going and haven't left yet, I leave you with the list of conference tips I sent to the people going on the bus trip:

Other general conference reminders:

1. Wear *comfortable* shoes. You will do a lot of walking at the conference.

2. Have a second choice program planned for each session as you may find your first choice is unexpectedly cancelled, is not what you thought it was to be, or is so popular the room is packed beyond comfort.

3. Plan which vendors you absolutely want to visit in the exhibit hall before you go. I find it easier to have a list with me, as well as questions or issues I want to discuss with the individual vendors.

4. Bring a reusable water bottle with you. Hydration is key to keeping your energy level up.

5. Visit the PLA conference website at http://www.placonference.org to print out session handouts you want ahead of time, as well as a map of the exhibit floor.

6. Schedule some down time for yourself. Conferences can be quite overwhelming, and you will need time to process all of the information you’ll be gathering.

7. Bring your business cards as people will want to exchange them with you. When you receive a business card from someone, note on the back where you met them (ex. “PLA 2008”) and a note about what you talked about so it will be easier to remember them when you’re cleaning out your purse or pockets after the conference.

For more tips to a successful conference, check out this article from the New Members Round Table newsletter, Footnotes:

Trudell, Tapley. “Tips for a Healthy Conference”. May 2007. Page 2.

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