ALAO 2007 Conference in Retrospect

ALAO, the Academic Library Association of Ohio, just finished up it’s annual conference on Friday. This year’s conference was 1.5 days long instead of the usual 1 day and was packed with programming. As a conference planning committee member, I helped select the programs, worked on the website, and did whatever else I could to help my fellow conference planners.

Planning a conference is a big job, with all its’ attendant frustrations and quite a lot of satisfaction along the way. The Planning Committee members are the key to the conference. Our meetings were filled with humor and quite a lot of food, but the humor is what got us through it all. The people who volunteer to serve as conference planners come into the job with all sorts of expectations and ideas and sometimes, without a clue as well. The newbies are quickly brought up to speed. They bring questions and ideas that the longer-term members don’t always see. The combination of experience and naivety combine to develop new ways of doing things and create a unique conference experience along the way.

I spent this year’s conference behind the registration desk, which I’ve found is the best place to be. Since everyone has to check in at the registration desk, I get to see them all. I was so excited to find that the “Thomas Marker” on one of the name tags was Tom Marker who used to work at ENC with me. It was just so cool to talk with him again and find that he’s still involved with libraries as he’s at OSU’s Health Sciences Library. I got to connect with Laura Kinner from University of Toledo too — Laura and I were in library school together and worked on a group project for our research methods class all those years ago. Back then, she meant to be an archivist and I meant to be a public library reference librarian. Now we’re both in academic libraries working in Tech Services!

I got to chat with many old friends and met a number of new people too. That’s the best part of the conference for me: networking, making contacts with people all over the state. One of the things I really appreciate about ALAO are the connections with other librarians. Between OhioLINK and ALAO, I seem to know at least one librarian at every academic institution in the state, if not more. That’s so cool! How many other professional organizations can boast that kind of networking?

The awards announcements at lunch were great too. I was so proud to find that Betsy Blankenship from OSU-Marion was named the Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award winner this year! Congratulations Betsy! She certainly deserves this recognition. She has such a strong commitment to ALAO and has served in many capacities over the years. Her enthusiasm, knowledge, experience, and humor have contributed to ALAO’s success.

When it’s all said and done, there will be complaints about the conference. There always are. I’ve acknowledged to myself that we can’t please everyone so that will not be a surprise in the end. Overall though, the conference seemed to be a success. People commented positively on many of the presentations and on the poster sessions, the vendors seemed to have a number of visitors, we caught some of the glitches before they became huge problems, and the committee members basically did their respective jobs and things went off without many problems. We had a lot of laughs, shared a lot of frustrations, and got through it all. Yay for us!

I’ve spent the weekend decompressing! I think I’ve caught up on my sleep, did some fun reading, watched Torchwood on BBC America and a few movies from AMC’s Monster Fest, and took my first knitting class at Miss Chickpea’s Funky Fibers in Hudson, OH. I want to learn how to knit sweaters at some point. My grandmother Plummer taught me how to knit when I was a little girl but I never took to it really. I didn’t have the patience to do it then and I preferred crocheting which my grandmother Morris taught me. I can crochet up a storm, but knitting has always been a little beyond me. Lately I’ve been knitting scarfs and really want to learn more, hence the classes. Lori is taking the class too so this is really going to be a fun thing. I’m looking forward to the next class.

Guess that’s it. Now that ALAO is over, I’m going to try to write in here more regularly, but who knows if that will work?

Take care,
Karen

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