One of the things we (the Program Clearinghouse Committee) saw a lot on the ALA Annual conference survey results was a wish that there was a “conference buddy” type program for first time conference attendees and new YALSA members. There is an ALA program in place.
When people register for conference, they are asked if they are first time attendees. If they say yes, they are automatically contacted by an ALA Ambassador, who is a veteran conference attendee. Each Ambassador has three to five contacts to make, which includes sending an welcome email to the attendee to check and see if they have any questions, or if the Ambassador can help in some way to make the conference experience a good one.
Each Ambassador spends at least two hours at either the Membership Pavillion on the Exhibit Floor or at the Registration Desk. Ambassadors wear an ALA Ambassador ribbon on their badges so as to be easily identifiable. There was also a “Text an Ambassador” service for the first time in Chicago.
Information about the program is sent out in email blasts to all conference attendees and is available on the conference wiki.