Professional Development

ALA: The Long Term Impact

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 12:41 pm

This is my last ALA Conference post, and it could have just as well been called Connecting and Working.

This was the best ALA conference for me since Chicago, or maybe ever. Part of it was the chance to be involved with things I care a lot about. But a larger part was the people. I love conferences and look forward to them for the chance to see friends that only cross paths every six months. I try to catch up with folks for lunch, over dinner, in meetings, and at happy hours. I had some great conversations and some left me ready for Midwinter already.

Several of these conversations generated projects that I think will be fun to do, have direct benefits for my job, and could be useful for the field.

One of these projects will be based on web design and has been brewing since before Leif was born. Both of us are now in a place to work on the project, so we were able to hammer out a few next actions to get the ball rolling.

Another came up over coffee when I was talking about reframing how to think about reference based on experiences I’ve had as an interdisciplinary liaison. My co-conspirator agreed and had been thinking of something similar, so we’re going to do a project around it.

Several of us talked about pooling perspectives to do a piece on effective webinar design. We can tackle it from the angles of best practices, instructional design, and aspractitionerswho both have given and participated in them.

So all in all, a lot of good projects will come out of this relatively short time.

It’s something that I mulled over when I was seeing tweets from really good programs. I worried I wasn’t getting enough out of the conference for Wake Forest. But then I realized what I was getting out of this particular conference were projects that will inform the work I do at Wake just as much as if I were to sit in on a session and learn about what others have done. And the meetings that spurred these projects wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t at ALA.

The hardest thing about coming back from ALA is having a week of catch up to do, and THEN to do the ALA work. I’m going to do everything in my power not to drop the ball on these projects, though, since I feel really good about the potential outcomes.

ALA was an incredible conference for me this year, from the events I did attend to the meetings I participated in to the conversations and the long term projects that will come out of it. But for now, I have to get through this inbox so I can act on all these new ideas!

(cross posted to

3 Responses to “ALA: The Long Term Impact”

  1. Thanks for posting your reflections. I love the inspiration, energy, and potential projects that come from professional conferences!

  2. I’m anxious to see what comes of the conference ideas. It will be innovative, I’m sure. (who was the ” co-conspirator” and why did you choose that particular term, hmmm?)

  3. Thanks, guys! :) MB: Lynda is the colleague in question. Nothing too much meant by co-conspirator, but we’re looking forward to a fresh view from our different perspectives.

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