ALA snuck up on me this year, despite falling later on the calendar. This year is also a big one for me, as I had both a pre-conference and a book-signing on my calendar.
Kaeley and I flew in and are rooming together. We ran into Elisabeth Leonard and Beth Bernhardt at the GSO airport, and found out we were all staying at the same hotel. We were able to put our heads together for a remarkably smooth and quick trip from O’Hare to the hotel, with an exciting train ride along the way.
Once in town Kaeley and I checked in to the hotel and conference, walked around Millennium Park a bit, and practiced for our pre-conference. We got out for a late dinner at a cute grocery/cafe, and came back to rest up for the big day on Friday.
We practiced some more Friday morning before grabbing a quick lunch and heading over the the pre-conference hotel. We both agreed that a pre-conference is a long enough presentation that you really can’t practice very easily until you’re at the hotel with nothing on your calendar. Carving out three and a half workday hours would have been impossible, and running through a few times on a weekend would eat up a whole day! But once we were in Chicago, with nothing else scheduled, it was easy to fit in a few run-throughs.
We proposed our topic over a year ago, so it was nice that it was a more or less timeless one: Instructional Design for Librarians. We tried our best to model what we were teaching. We had a full house (we think 53) and the three and a half hours went by more quickly than we thought they might. The group was great and we got very positive feedback, which was really nice and rewarding.
Afterwards we headed to the LITA Happy Hour where we met up with Susan. It was a perfect way to unwind from the pre-conference, and we chatted with a few other LITA folks. After that we headed out from the LITA Happy Hour, had a leisurely dinner on the river, and came back for a fairly early night.
Saturday has been a big LITA day for me, mostly in the same hotel. First thing this morning was the Joint Interest Group and Committee Chairs meeting for LITA. The meeting is designed to keep LITA leadership in the loop for association news. I really like being at the table for the discussion. Some of the interesting news from the meeting: LITA membership is down slightly, but that is common when ALA raises dues (which it did). A majority of LITA membership is in the southeast. LITA’s working to “modernize the workflow” of program proposals, so this should get easier. If you have something techy to talk about, I bet there’s a way to do it with LITA. (Let’s talk if you do!) After the meeting I was able to connect with the person that needed to find out a bit more about my interest group for our renewal, so I was able to straighten everything out and we’re good for renewal.
After the chairs meeting, my LITA interest group met. This group is the Distance Learning Interest Group. Lauren Ray (of NC, but now in Seattle) co-facilitated and the discussion went really well. I bet we could have continued chatting if we all weren’t scheduled right away.
Now I’m sitting with REAL internet for the first time in days. I’m wrapping up a few things I needed to post online, and I’m headed to the LITA’s BIGWIG (Blogs, Wikis, etc, not actualBigwigs) group for the first time ever. Since it was formed I wanted to be part of it, but my calendar has always been packed so I’ve only participated virtually. It’ll be nice to actually be there. This evening holds a few receptions, so I’m hoping to cross paths with some ZSR folks at some point soon!