ALA Annual: It’s All About the Networking

Now that ALA Midwinter has come and gone, you’re probably itching to flip your calendar forward to June in anticipation of’ ALA Annual‘ in Anaheim, June 21 – 26.

Ready to make the most of your conference experience? Network! Don’t be shy. If you can answer reference questions, you can talk to other librarians! Whether you’re a full fledged librarian or still in library school, you have been practicing your social skills by making presentations in class or to the public, so talking to colleagues will be a piece of cake. Chances are, many attendees are in a city not their own and would be happy to see a friendly face.

  • Before you go, join listservs, interest groups, and read blogs to get familiar with some names and faces to look for at the conference.
  • Attend YALSA 101 to learn ways to participate in the division. Break the ice at the YALSA Happy Hour. Come by the booth in the ALA pavilion or stop by the Membership Meeting.
  • Take advantage of a variety of opportunities to introduce yourself to others in and around the convention center, from food lines to the showroom floor.
  • Spot other YALSA members by the YALSA ribbons on our badges. Start up a conversation about anything – what panels you are going to, what the hot ARCs are.

Many librarians would advise you that networking with your colleagues is one of the best ways to become actively involved in the profession.’ YALSA Local Arrangements Committee member Corinda Humphrey says:

“By far the best way I have found to meet people is to volunteer for any of these events! Over the years I have helped out with presentations, the auction and at the booth and spoken to many people about YALSA and what the division has to offer. Even if you travel solo from afar, librarians are a welcoming group. I have stayed in hostel rooms with other librarians I had never met before. I have met people from a discussion group at more than one conference. I have also spent time with colleagues from my own library system while out discovering the city. Our shared love of literature and serving youth gives us a wealth of topics to discuss.”

So make ALA Annual a rich and rewarding experience by putting yourself out there to soak up all the information and ideas you can. Whether you meet your next lifelong friend or never see the person again, you can make an impression.

See you in Anaheim!

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