ALA Annual Conference: When You’re Here, You’re Home

News | Elizabeth DeZouche| August 08, 2017

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Elizabeth DeZouche was one of six winners of an EBSCO/ALA Scholarship to the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois. In this guest blog post, she shares her experience as a first-time ALA Annual Conference attendee.

In our day and age of conference calls, webinars and Facetime there’s still something to be said about an old-fashioned face-to-face get-together. When money is tight and our time is short but we still have to pursue those continuing education requirements we more often than not turn to electronic opportunities; I am a prime example: with an annual budget for professional development capped at about $150 my choices are limited to in-state, and very close to home. That is why I was beyond the moon excited when I won one of the ALA Annual Conference EBSCO Scholarships for 2017. I would now be able to attend my first large, nation-wide, professional Librarian’s conference out-of-state!

Our tribe is a welcoming people. We do not discriminate or judge. We welcome all with a lust for life and knowledge. As long as you show up. I encourage everyone to attend the next ALA Annual Conference when it visits your state. Whether you go with colleagues or yourself. Once you’re there, you’re home.

I was intimidated about attending the conference alone. Would I make friends? Would I enjoy the sessions? Would I find relevant booths in the vendor’s hall?  I need not have nurtured any of those fears. I forgot for a minute the type of people that would host and attend the ALA Annual Conference. They would be people-persons, like me, who enjoy meeting new people from all walks of life. Whom relish the opportunity to help other people, especially if it’s the kind of occasion that allows us to draw on our own knowledge and expertise. One of the first persons I met was also lost in navigating the huge McCormick Center. We rallied our forces to find the registration area together. From then on I found friends at every corner. The speakers in the sessions had sage advice for almost any situation and were always eager to share contact information for future conversation. The vendors were also enthusiastic about sharing their products or services and happy to answer all questions. In such a supportive environment it’s easy to let go of any hang-ups and focus on forging new friendships and alliances. You can explore new areas of interest and open your mind to possibility.

Our tribe is a welcoming people. We do not discriminate or judge. We welcome all with a lust for life and knowledge. As long as you show up.

I encourage everyone to attend the next ALA Annual Conference when it visits your state. Whether you go with colleagues or yourself. Once you’re there, you’re home.

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Elizabeth DeZouche

Elizabeth DeZouche is an Access and Instruction Librarian from Thomas University Library in Thomasville, Georgia.

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