Hey hacklibschool team, JP here (you know, #partyhard #makeithappen guy). If there’s one regret I have from when I was in library school, it’s not getting involved in the ALA immediately. There’s no larger library community in the USA! My advice to everyone: if there’s one conference you attend every year (besides your state association conference), it should be ALA.
The reason ALA Annual is such an important event is because you get to meet people. Real , flesh-and-blood people. You meet them, build relationships with them, and party hard with them.
It’s not so hard to find new people to meet, because it’s such a gigantic conference, but there’s some events I am especially excited about that I’d love for you to attend! Add these all to your conference scheduler (and if you aren’t coming to the conference, there’s still time! in fact, I haven’t even booked my flight yet).
Almost every link is direct to the conference scheduler, so you can use this post to build your conference schedule via ALA Connect. Shouts to Jenny Levine, just in general, but also for the conference scheduler.
9am: Annual 2012 Unconference is always worth waking up for. You meet fabulous people from across the country, from all different types of libraries, with various world experiences and skill sets, and share ideas with them.
3pm: Emerging Leaders Poster Session and Reception is the best mix of the old-school of the ALA & the new-school of us young folks. Everybody gets along, trades business cards, chats…it’s one of the BEST events at ALA that is presented sans-alcohol.
7:30pm: ALAplay is the most fun event at Annual every year. It’s the most relaxed event for sure, and brings together folks from lots of different committees, divisions, etc. Also, there’s cosplay at it, which is a spectacle for those of us not dressed up. I did don a red wig for it last year which was killer. :)
10pm: ALA Dance Party III is the premier party at ALA and needs no introduction. Last year it was one of the top-twenty highest-attended events according to the conference scheduler!
10:30am: Games and Gaming Forum (GameRT). The reason I put this is because GameRT is the ALA’s newest round table and this is their first event as an official organization. Get involved with it as it rises from the ground-up. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that games are fun.
5pm: Happy Hour (RUSA MARS) has the word “happy hour” in it. Happy is good.
7:30pm: 6th ALA Annual 2012 Newbie & Veteran Librarian Tweet-up is just a laid-back great time to meet librarians who you might know digitally but not personally. I’ve attended every tweetup and have great memories of all of them.
10pm: #ala12 After Hours / LibrarianWardrobe Walkoff Contest! Other than Dance Party, this is THE social event to attend for 6 years running (maybe more?). With the additional fun of librarianwardrobe.com/ running their fashion show walkoff contest, it looks to be the best after-hours event yet.
5:30pm: LITA Happy Hour has moved to Sunday night, and I’m very pleased about that, because it is one of the events that you’ll see MOST of the twitter people at all in the same place! I am particularly thrilled that it’s moved so it doesn’t interfere with ALAPlay! No conflicts, double fun.
6:30pm: Student Reception (NMRT) is also Sunday night, so if you wanna do a “networking pub crawl”, add this to the list.
2:45pm: Librarian Wardrobe #ala12 Conversation Starter Session. Style and Stereotypes: Perceptions of Librarians – join a panel + discussion on style and stereotypes of librarians, perceptions inside and outside of the field.
5:30pm: Battledecks 2012! If you kick-off the conference with Think Tank, end it here! Another fun fun fun event that needs to be seen to be believed. I competed 2 years ago (won the bronze medal!), judged last year, and this year just wanna chill with all my hacklibschool ppl. Let’s #makeTHAThappen! And i’m sure we’ll all find some informal locations to share our library stories with after.
Recover. Sleep on your flight. Or find me & PC Sweeney and we’ll drink some mimosas before heading back to our libraries.
One last thing, Mango Languages always throws a killer party, and this year it’s at a bowling alley. You need an invite, though, so hit them up at their booth in the exhibit hall for the pass to the party!
To make things a lot easier, here is the ALA Annual #partyhard map. Use it well.