Networking · Professional Conferences

Missouri Library Association Conference, Day 1

Well, that was a long three hour drive. I’ve managed to arrive at the hotel and convention center unscathed. Finding my room was a bit harrowing, though. The hotel is mid-century modern with several building expansions grafted onto it, including the convention center. What one finds here is a confusing network of stairways and hallways confronting a guest with a Thesian goal of locating one’s room. A task I utterly failed at until a generous housekeeper took pity on me and all but took me by the hand. There was a map, but it may as well have been written in Goa’uld for all the good it did me.

I’m registered, now. I have my tote bag and T-shirt. Waiting on my first session to start. It’s on tips for presenting at conferences, appropriately enough. I’ve done that before, actually, but not since 2013. The biggest problem I have is the topic. What do I have that is worthwhile to share? The first one grew out of a library school assignment. Left to my own devices I’m at a loss for what to say.

This is ironic if you know me.

(Ooh! First friend sighting!)

—45 minutes later—

Session was fun. More entertaining than informative, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Now, I’m waiting for the opening keynote speaker. At my last conference the speaker was so terrible that I got up and walked out. We were sitting at a table in the back, so it was easy. This time, though, I’m in the middle of a row a third of the way up and wondering if I made a mistake.

My friend came in and I moved to sit with her. Second row, aisle. Still, no good escape path.

—60 minutes later—

No mistake. This guy was great! He’s a body builder and librarian with Tourette syndrome. He was a great speaker who told emotional and personal stories. I bought his book, and got it signed.

Standing in line for the signing we were talking about first book signings. I mentioned how Mary Roach was my first, which engendered jealous awws from everyone. (Only librarians!) He dedicated the book to “Jeffrey, Mary Roach fanboy extraordinaire.”

Awesome.

Now, I’m waiting for the trivia night to start.

—several hours pass—

Guess what! We won! My team, Dewey Don’t We, kicked some trivia butt and took home the trophy, literally.

And with that a good first day of of MLA16 comes to a close.

More tomorrow.

Related Tales of a Librarian

Missouri Library Association Conference, Day 3

Missouri Library Association Conference, Day 2

Schmoozing Skills

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