The countdown is on: only two months until the’ ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim!

Have you registered yet? Remember to take advantage of Early Bird registration – just $215 for YALSA members until May 13th.’  Check out all of YALSA’s’ can’t-miss Conference sessions‘ and start putting together your schedule now.

In our ongoing series of posts, YALSA’s Conference Marketing and Local Arrangements Committee has shared practical tips on how to make the most of your ALA experience and many reasons to come to Anaheim. Now that the big event is approaching, here is a refresher.

1. Plan ahead
Make lists and really prioritize what to see at conference, especially if there is a time or distance limitation. There always seems to be one program that conflicts with another great program or one that is located far away from the conference. Your schedule can be really tight when you have commitments, such as a committee obligation or presenting a program.

To ensure that you see what you came to see, take the time to create a basic schedule before you come to Anaheim. Keep in mind the purpose behind your conference attendance. Maybe your library wants you to learn about new systems, or to meet with a certain database vendor. Perhaps you are there to plan/purchase the furniture for your new teen area. There are always those high priority items that must be addressed first, even if you plan more than you can get to. ‘ 

Highlighting or putting tape flags on the conference program is a great idea to organize your schedule. Following a “track” is a good way to minimize conflicts. Some days you will feel overwhelmed by all the programs and exhibits and may need to take a break and relax, so plan some time for that too!

2. Map it out
Anaheim is not necessarily a pedestrian friendly area. So, fellow YALSA peeps, pace yourselves and check the shuttle bus/hotel map to save your feet, and take a look at our “Getting Around Anaheim” guide on the YALSA wiki.

3. Pack light
We like to pack light and leave lots of room in our luggage to bring stuff home. Layers are a must, as well as non-wrinkle clothes that can be rolled up into a small carry-on. If you are driving, then you don’t have to worry as much about the weight. Remember, wheeled carts are not allowed on the exhibit hall floor, and your shoulders will not be happy with you lugging all those bags around. As we have advised previously, if you load up on swag, be selective. Find a bag check to store things. If you are staying nearby, there may be a shuttle bus for you to take things back to your suitcase. It is often convenient (and cheaper than airline baggage fees) to ship items directly from the convention center, depending on how long the line is. So, enjoy, but don’t get bogged down by too much weight.

4. Bring some CASH
Stash some hidden cash about your person so you don’t have to pay those heavy-duty tourist ATM fees. That said, always be aware of your surroundings any time you travel. Think twice about bringing expensive jewelry or precious items.

5. Bring snacks
Load up on non-perishable snacks so that you don’t have to pay for them at the convention center. Don’t forget your reusable water bottle, either. We all know it’s expensive to eat at a conference, or you will have to walk far to find more choices. Hit all the free receptions for more sustenance including ones on the exhibit floor. If you have food allergies or other dietary restrictions, you already know the importance of bringing your own safe snacks.

6. Disneyland
If you want to go across the street to Disneyland, don’t take more than a small backpack or shoulder bag with you, as the park’s’ storage’ lockers are very pricey. Also, always remember your water bottle, sunscreen, and layers for after dark when the temperature drops drastically. Take a bus tour to other local theme parks and attractions if you have the time– for ideas, visit the YALSA wiki and see what else the Orange County area has to offer.

…and most important of all, bring your walking shoes.

See you in Anaheim!

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