ALA Annual Conference is an absolute blast. It can also be expensive. Registration, travel expenses, spending money when you get somewhere, it all adds up.
However! There are ways to go to Annual in Anaheim next June on the cheap. It will take some planning (and maybe some begging) but every little bit helps when it comes to covering the cost of your conference.
If you’re still in library school, the ALA will knock about $100 off registration, since encouraging library school students is important, as well as experiencing the hustle and bustle (READ: publisher receptions) of librarianship first hand.
Regardless of whether or not you’re in library school, there are grants, fellowships and scholarships that can help finance your conference.
- 3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant - Helps finance attendance at ALA Annual. It covers round trip airfare, lodging, conference registration fees and some incidental expenses. Must be a personal ALA/NMRT member working within the territorial U.S.
- AASL Frances Henne Award - This $1,250 award recognizes a school library media specialist with five years or less experience who demonstrates leadership qualities with students, teachers and administrators, to attend an AASL conference or ALA Annual Conference for the first time. Applicants must be AASL personal members.
- ACRL/DLS Haworth Press Distance Learning Librarian Conference Sponsorship Award provides $1200 to help defray the costs of travel to and participation in the ALA Annual Meeting and a plaque sponsored by Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
- Baker & Taylor/YALSA Conference Grants – $1,000 grants to public and school librarians to attend their first ALA conference.
- The Diana V. Braddom FRFDS Scholarship offers $1,000 stipend towards attending the Fundraising and Financial Development programs at the annual ALA conference.
- EBSCO Conference Sponsorship – This annual award consisting of $1,000 for actual reimbursed expenses is designed to allow librarians to attend the ALA’s Annual Conference.
- The Federal Librarians Adelaide Del Frate Conference Sponsorship Award of $1,000 is given to a library school student who has an interest in working in a Federal Library for ALA Annual conference attendance.
- First Step Award/Wiley Professional Development Grant is intended to provide librarians new to the serials field with the opportunity to broaden their perspective and to encourage professional development in ALA Conference and participation in Serials Section activities. The $1,500, donated by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., cash award is applicable toward round trip transportation, lodging, registration fees, etc.
- The Gordon M. Conable conference scholarship provides for ALA Annual conference registration, transportation, housing for six nights, and per diem expenses. In return, the recipient will be expected to attend various FTRF and other intellectual freedom meetings and programs at conference, consult with a mentor/board member, and present a report about their experiences and thoughts.
- Penguin Young Readers Group Award gives $600 toward attendance at a first ALA conference.
- The Shirley Olofson Memorial Award gives $1,000 to an ALA/NMRT member for ALA Annual conference attendance.
- YALSA Supporting Diversity Conference Stipend offers two YALSA members with a diverse background up to $1,000 for ALA Annual conference expenses.
(The above list is from LISjobs.com, which also includes information on funding opportunities for other conferences.)
In addition to grants and fellowships, asking your library system for paid leave and a stipend could yield surprising results. Even in lean years, libraries want their staff to be current. If it’s impossible to get a per diem for the conference, make a case for making sure you get leave with pay for the time you’re at the conference, and ask to have conference registration reimbursed. Even if your system can’t do everything, they should be able to do something, and every little bit helps.
If management can’t help, talk to your Union representative. Unions will sometimes have travel stipends or reimbursements for funds used. Find out what your Union policy is.
In either case, the key is communicating with your supervisors, and seeing what your institution’s policy is.
Other money saving techniques:
- Rather than staying in a hotel (which can be pricey) try hosteling. Check out Hostelworld.com for a list of hostel in Anaheim. Some hostels will even include breakfast, so that’s one meal free!
- Buy grocceries there. Buying a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and making your own snacks and lunches saves you that much more money for shipping the free books back!
- Share space. Finding a roommate (or several) can really bring down the cost of a hotel room.
Going to a conference doesn’t have to break the bank- just be sure to plan it all out ahead of time. So mark your calendars for June 21 - 26, and we’ll see you in Anaheim!