What to do when you are #ALAleftbehind
by Leigh Milligan, Senior Editor
Unfortunately, I rarely get to go to ALA conferences, unless it’s local in or near Philadelphia. I currently don’t work in a library so my employer will not pay for it and I have yet to receive funding from different conference sponsorship programs. I can’t afford to go on my own. Between travel, hotel and conference admission, I cannot afford it. My May 2015 wedding is near and I just bought a house that needs a lot of tender loving care, so that is where most of my money is going right now.
Do you think I just sit home and cry about it? Of course not. I try to come up with many ways to stay involved with the ALA conferences while I am not there. Here’s a few ways I stay in the know.
- Hashtags I love #hashtags. For ALA Mid-Winter this year the hashtag was #ALAMW15 and I was able to see all the going-ons at the conference including sessions, presentations, meetings, social gatherings etc.
- Living through other librarians. Because I’m a crazy networker, I have many librarian friends on social networks like FB and Twitter. Throughout the conference I got to see all the photos they posted and all the different places they checked in to. I am also a member of the FB group ALA Think Tank where I was able to converse about and see all the going ons at ALA. Because of this I didn’t feel too bad about missing Jason Segal and his Man or a Muppet song because all the librarians shared pictures and quotes from the session, I felt like I was there. Plus this is also a great way to start a networking conversation with librarians; it can be a great ice-breaker!
- Some of the sessions/panels are live tweeted. This is very helpful as I do wish I was able to attend some of the meetings or at least get a sense what it was about. I am active in New Members Round Table (NMRT) and this is the meeting I am usually looking forward to. Well I was in luck! LLAMA and NMRT had a panel that was live-tweeted and I got some very useful information from the tweets about new librarians and how to get involved in ALA.
- Make a Plan! While I was not able to attend Mid-Winter and probably not ALA Annual, it does not mean I won’t be able to get to a conference in the future. Right now I am planning on Special Library Association (SLA) Conference in 2016. It’s local, in Philadelphia, so I won’t worry about travel and I am on the planning committee for the conference. I am also looking to present and/or do a poster session at a conference in the future. I am working on building up my leadership skills. I am also job hunting, hoping to find a library that will fund me to go someday. Applying to the ALA Emerging Leaders program is also an option if you are looking a funding. It’s very competitive but now is the time to start working on your resume and gathering your skills for you application!
Additionally, for Mid-Winter, Mary Mackay of ALA put this little list of coverage options together. So yes social media is definitely an option. Hope to see this for every conference, at least ALA!
- track #alamw15on Twitter https://twitter.com/search?q=%23alamw15
• join the Facebook Event at http://bit.ly/mw15event
• get the latest on Google+ at http://bit.ly/alamw15gp
• follow the Pinterest board at http://www.pinterest.com/alamidwinter/
• keep up on Tumblr at http://americanlibraryassoc.tumblr.com/
• follow the fun on Instagram at http://bit.ly/ALAinstagram
Well there you have it; you can still have fun, learn from conferences and plan for others even when you are #ALAleftbehind. How do you survive being #ALAleftbehind?