Hack ALA

ALA Student to Staff Program

This weekend I’ll be travelling to Chicago and attending ALA Annual as part of the Student to Staff (S2S) program. S2S is an opportunity provided by ALA wherein individual student representatives from 40 of the ALA-accredited library schools are selected by their institutions and then sent to ALA Annual. S2S provides conference registration, hotel accommodations, and per diem for food and in exchange the student representatives work 4 hours a day (for a total of 16 hours over the conference) assisting an ALA sub-group. It’s a really great opportunity for students to go to ALA pretty cheaply, network within a library group, and participate in the largest library conference of the year!

You have to first apply at your school, through your student ALA chapter; then applications are forwarded to the ALA offices and the first 40 suitable candidates are chosen as participants. Here is a list of the 40 participants going this summer: S2S 2013.

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This is my first-ever library conference! Hopefully it won’t be too overwhelming… (Image source: ALA)

Here’s a brief look at parts of my schedule, to give you a taste of what ALA S2S entails:

Thursday, June 27

  • Getting into town, picking up my conference badge, getting to my hotel (unfortunately S2S participants are scattered throughout numerous hotels; it would be nice if we all had the same home base…)
  • Meeting up with my roommate (most of us are sharing rooms) and then heading out for dinner with many other S2S participants. We’ve all been corresponding via Facebook and email and preparing for months, so it will be nice to put faces with names and get to know students from other schools.

Friday, June 28

  • 9:30AM – 1:30PM: Going to the convention center, meeting my S2S contacts, and helping them set up their booth. Early on in the preparation process we all filled out a survey with our academic interests and preferred sub-group assignments. I got my first choice (!), the Public Programs Office, whose mission is to “promote cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service.”
  • 12PM (during aforementioned booth set-up): Meet with Angie Hanshaw, the editor of ProgrammingLibrarian.org, to discuss my blogging assignments. Each ALA sub-group is different and requires different duties of its S2S participants; the bulk of my service will be to attend programming-related talks and events and then blog about them for ProgrammingLibrarian.org! I could not have asked for a better assignment; I’ve been reading Programming Librarian for over a year, as I am very interested in library marketing, outreach, and event planning.

Saturday, June 29

Sunday, June 30

Monday, July 1

  • 9:30 – 11AM: Assistance with the LIVE! Reading Stage, which will feature the following authors during Monday morning: Julia Sweeney (former SNL cast member & author),  Peter Robertson (mystery novelist), Sara Paretsky (mystery novelist), and Samuel Park (professor & novelist)

Tuesday, July 2

  • Heading back home!

Of course S2S participants are encouraged to take full advantage of all the conference offerings when not working, so this schedule does not reflect all of the other sessions, gatherings, and parties that I hope to make it to.

For more information about HLS blogger S2S experiences, check out this post from S2S 2011 participants: Working ALA – The Student to Staff Program.

I’m also happy to talk to anyone who’s interested in the S2S program and wants to know more! Hit me up via email or twitter (@nhelregel)! Hope to see lots of you there! I’ll be the one with the ribbon that says “student volunteer” and the dazed look that says “this is my first conference…”

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