How to Fund a Conference Trip on Pocket Lint and Dreams

by Natalia Tabisaura

You’re sold on the idea of going to the next ALA Conference, but where oh where will the funds come from?’  It’s easy to say you want to go, but with a place to stay, food, and transportation to consider the price tag becomes daunting and the question arises: Should I go?

Heck yes, you should! The education you get at a conference trumps any webinar or experience in class. Don’t give up hope!’  You can find conference funding in a myriad of unexpected (and expected) places. Here are a few strategies for getting the financial support to get that well-educated tush of yours to the next annual conference.

1. Student discounts! If you are a current student, ALA offers a $100 off registration to encourage library school students to attend.

2. Research grants and scholarships can make a dent in the conference costs. Be sure to pay attention to the deadlines. Also, check the web pages of the associations and subgroups you are a member of for additional opportunities. Here is a list of grants and awards (source: LISjobs.com)

  • 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. Continue reading

ALA Annual: The Windy City vs. Sin City

By Soraya Silverman-Montano

(photos from coolglobes.org/chicagomag.com)

(photos from coolglobes.org/chicagomag.com)

Wow, I can’t believe it’s September already. This year has flown by so fast! ALA 2013 is well over, and 2014 is right around the corner. This year, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Annual for the first time and it was such a great experience. The programs were very educational, the speakers were astounding, I made quite a few friends, and let’s not forget all of Chicago’s good eats. Next year ALA is coming to my home town, good ol’ Las Vegas, and I thought I’d compare my experience from this year to what you can expect in 2014!

Chicago: The Windy City- Highlights

First off, the Speaker Series this year consisted of a phenomenal line up of guest speakers. Steven D. Levitt, author of the Freakonomics series, was the opening keynote and cracked up the audience with an extraordinary story reminiscent of his books. Khaled Hosseini, bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, discussed his most recent, chart-topping novel, And the Mountains Echoed. And to conclude, the incredible Alice Walker presented, reading stories from two of her most recent books, The Cushion in the Road and The World Will Follow Joy. She is so elegant and inspiring; it was such an honor to see her present live.

(photo from theguardian.com)

(photo from theguardian.com)

The Exhibit Hall was mind-blowing! I happened to be in the area when they cut the opening ribbon and man, are librarians crazy about free swag. Not that I blame them! There were so many awesome giveaways: Free hardback books, advance reader copies, posters, calendars, flash drives, pencils, bookmarks, trinkets, tickets to blockbuster author signings and, my personal favorite, a Mo Willems Pigeon foam hand puppet. Continue reading