This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending my first American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, IL. The ALA conference, which ran from June 22 – June 27 this year, is the largest library conference in the world. It includes education sessions, exhibits, book signings, workshops, networking opportunities, and featured speakers.
Guest speakers this year included actress Sarah Jessica Parker, “The Martian” author Andy Weir, and former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. If you are interested in listening to Clinton’s speech, it is available for free on CNN’s YouTube page. Other noted guests included the current Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden.
My schedule at ALA was jam-packed with sessions focusing on library analytics, management, technology, and service delivery. While this is what I was most interested in, there were plenty of other great sessions and lectures on other library topics that I was not able to attend. At times, there were so many sessions running simultaneously, it was difficult to pick which one to attend! These sessions are a great way to learn about current trends in the library industry, and are great opportunities for professional development.
The conference was not entirely lectures and speeches, though. Many library vendors hosted receptions, mixers, and other networking events in the evening. These events gave the attendees time to meet and greet other industry professionals. All in all, the conference was a very busy, but ultimately rewarding experience! It was by far the largest conference I have ever attended, and I look forward to having the opportunity to attend in the future.