by Sara Dixon, former Head Editor, INALJ Kansas
previously published 5/21/13 & 6/16/14
Making the Case to Attend ALA Annual Conference…to Yourself
If you are like me, you have been weighing the pros and cons of attending the ALA Annual Conference. ALA says, “Expand your network. Build your knowledge. Improve your profession.” Why, yes, ALA, I would like to do all those things. Maybe you’ve read some articles and opinions, such as “Making Your Case to Attend” for those who are providing justification to their library, or “Career Management Tip: Plan to Attend a Conference” by INALJ’s own Alberta Editor Christina Wilson. Maybe your interest was piqued when you saw that some of the speakers include famous authors and librarians. Maybe you want the opportunity to network with colleagues and peers. Any of these sound familiar?
But does all that justify the costs associated with traveling to Chicago (update: or Las Vegas) for the ALA Annual Conference? Should you go ahead and pay for conference registration, membership dues, hotel, and airfare/gas/rental car? Will you really be able to benefit from attending the conference?
Only you can make that determination. Look at whether the costs justify the outcomes. For me, the answer is Yes! And I’ll tell you why. I have been out of library school and on the job market for 2 years now. I do not work for a library at the moment, so while volunteering for a public library builds skills, the ALA Conference will help me stay current on new technologies and the latest on library research. I can network with colleagues and information professionals. I can meet with career counselors at the ALA Job Placement Center. For me, the potential benefits outweigh the cost. And the cost was the only con I had to contend with.
So if you decide to go, check out some of the resources listed below. And look for me! I can’t wait to learn about new products and programs, to gain ideas and insights, to gather tips for the job market, and, of course, meet new people!
Conference Tips and Resources:
- Tips for a Conference Newbie by INALJ Head Editor Shelley Macon
- ALA Conference Tips by INALJ Head Editor Caitlin Moen
- Resources for Conference First Timers from ALA
- Cognotes from ALA
- Recruiters at Conference from JobList ALA
- Job Placement Center at ALA
- Follow @ALAAnnual on Twitter.
And follow me @INALJKansas !