Making the Case to Attend ALA Annual Conference…to Yourself

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

sarad3If 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:


And follow me @INALJKansas !

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 


  1 comment for “Making the Case to Attend ALA Annual Conference…to Yourself

  1. Pingback: Are you ready for the ALA conference? | AzLA College and University Libraries Division Blog

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