Why Go to a Library Conference?

Apple BasketThe Information and Technology Educators of MN (ITEM, previously MEMO) conference is thundering down the calendar toward us beginning the first week in October. Then, during the second week in October, the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) Conference crops up! Are you registered?

Ideally, you are able to attend  a library conference of some form at least once a year. If you have a job that counts on you staying up-to-date, a conference is a great way to sharpen your skill set. I understand that professional development dollars are tight, but think beyond the dollars for a moment. Faced with incredibly big jobs, high work expectations beyond what we thought possible, and a world of fast-paced change, why go to a MN library conference?

Here are  my Top 10 Reasons to Register for the ITEM or MLA Fall Conferences Now….

  1. You have an excuse to buy a cool outfit, a new pair of shoes, or gasp…a new bag (even though you have hundreds)
  2. Informal conversations: Whether it be at a lunch table, in the commons area between sessions, or over cocktails at happy hour, a conference is an excellent place to figure out what your peers are worried about, working on, and thinking about. Be brave, strike up a conversation! You can save yourself a ton of time and work by talking to others who will share.
  3. Bags: While in the exhibit area, you have the opportunity to collect yet more bags for your collection of hundreds; some that include cat portraits!
  4. Free books: many companies are handing out free advanced copies of books!
  5. Do you hate talking on the phone with sales people, but need some new products, pricing, or information? Bribe a colleague to go with you (for the free candy) to the exhibit areas, and plan ahead of time how you will exit any sales talk that has gone far enough. Tag teams rule!
  6. Authors: Library conferences always include author talks, and we do love anything an author has to say!
  7. Eyeglasses: Have I mentioned that librarians also love to show off their hip eyewear, and why is it that most of us are almost blind?
  8. Keynotes: Conference planners think long and hard to bring in big names and popular folk that have appeal, and it is rare to be thoroughly disappointed, very rare!
  9. Breakout sessions: There are usually so many to pick from, that you often have a hard time. Me, I intentionally look for the rooms bursting at the seams with people. I want to know what everyone is so geeked up about! If it is something I know very little about, I really should be there! Am hoping for a session on Cosplay.
  10. The evening social event: You will have a blast and get to know the playful side of people. In the past,  the multitype library systems (CMLE is one of them) offered a trivia event, this year at both conferences we are hosting a gaming  night, literary games no less,  with prizes and bragging rights too! Did I mention free food? Can it get better? Geeks rule….

What have I missed? Add it in the comments! Ready to register now?

Go to our handy events table, and click on the appropriate event link to register! Easy…

No Money? A  CMLE scholarship  of up to $200 is yours to use for registration, hotel, mileage, meals, or to subsidize the cost of your employer hiring a substitute worker so you can be away. If you approach your boss to say you have found a way to contribute  $200, they will know you are invested and have taken initiative. The application process is easy, CMLE would love to exhaust its scholarship budget this year on these two conferences alone, so go for it!

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/o4jqtd7, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0