Every year when I write a blog post about what I’m looking forward to as I prepare for ALA Midwinter Meeting (or Annual Conference) I mention the same thing – getting to see people with whom my main mode of connection is virtual. These are people I talk with all the time on Twitter, via email, via text. But, when conference time comes around I actually get to see them face-to-face. That’s always great.
In this post I’m going to go beyond extolling the joys of connecting with others at this year’s Midwinter Meeting and mention some specific events. In date/time order:
- The YALSA Happy Hour – at the 2007 Annual Conference YALSA hosted their first Happy Hour. They are hosting another at Midwinter in Philadelphia. Since the Happy Hour is on the Friday evening of the Meeting weekend, it feels very much like the school hallways the first day of school after a vacation. You get to see people for the first time after a bit of time away from each other and catch-up in a casual environment. The Happy Hour takes place at McGillins Olde Ale House from 5 to 7 PM
- YALSA Student Interest Group Meeting – well, this isn’t really a formal meeting, but during Happy Hour students are invited to get together and talk about needs, interests, and simply have a chance to get to know each other. If you would like more info. about the SIG and the Happy Hour Meet-up you can contact me (I’m the fairly new Convener) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Gaming Extravaganza – for the third year in a row YALSA is sponsoring a gaming night. This year’s new and improved version includes game playing – games are made available through the generosity of Game Crazy – voting on entries in the avatar contest, game contests hosted by Eli Neiburger, machinima demonstrations, and prizes and giveaways. Wizards of the Coast is sponsoring the event. Registration for the Gaming Extravaganza, which takes place from 8 to 10 PM on Friday night, is required.
- YALSA Saturday Morning Meetings – Leadership Development and All-Committee meetings take place on Saturday AM. Over the past few years YALSA Board members and staff have made quite a few changes to how these meetings work and are run. At Leadership Development – which is geared specifically for Committee Chairs – there will be a roundtable round robin so that attendees get to learn about various YALSA projects in small groups. The All Committee meeting is a noisy experience but it’s also the place where the work of the various committees gets accomplished. If you are interested in joining a YALSA committee, but aren’t sure what to volunteer for, All Committee is the place to be to get a sense of what the various groups are working on and where your talents might best be used.
- Strategic Planning – this year YALSA Is beginning their strategic planning process. Committee chairs are invited to a special strategic planning session on Saturday afternoon. This is a good way to be a part of the future of the Division.
- Board Meetings – yes I know this might sound really crazy, but if you want to get a sense of how YALSA works and what projects are in the works, attending a part of a Board meeting is a good thing to do. You can find out what’s on the Board agenda and plan to attend when a topic you are interested in learning more about is scheduled for discussion. Board meetings are scheduled for Sunday, 1/13, 4 to 6 PM and Monday, 1/14, from 10 AM to 1:30 PM.
- Youth Media Awards – If you are going to be in Philadelphia and have never been to one of the youth media awards announcements, which takes place on Monday AM January 14, be prepared to be part of a very large crowd. Don’t forget if you aren’t in Philadelphia and are interested in the announcement you can join via the webcast – that’s crowded too and with limited space so you’ll want to show-up online early.
- Joint Youth Division Reception – this annual gathering takes place on Monday evening of every Midwinter Meeting. It’s usually a crowded event and as the Friday night Happy Hour is similar to a school hallway after a vacation, the reception is like the end of the school year when you are excited about getting to the end of another year and want to celebrate a job well done.
Find out more about YALSA’s events and meetings on the Division’s Midwinter Meeting wiki page. And, don’t forget, if you can’t be at the meeting you can still keep up via this blog, podcasts that will be posted here, and Twitter messages. (On Twitter track YALSA and you’ll see what those in Philadelphia are saying about Meeting events.)