I feel like funking it up... - Jo Alcock Consulting
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I feel like funking it up…

I feel like funking it up…

Sax player by romexico

Sax 1 by chickadee

(Post title will probably be lost on you if you haven’t been watching Treme on Sky Atlantic, but my boyfriend has been singing it constantly the last couple of days!)

I mentioned in my post at the start of the year that I wanted to attend more conferences this year, and in particular my first international conference. I’ve now stopped jumping around ecstatically and can share the news that I’m going to ALA Annual in June this year (it’s in New Orleans hence the Treme and jazz references!).

Why ALA Annual?

For those of you that don’t know ALA Annual is the largest library conference with around 20,000 librarians usually attending! I just cannot imagine that many librarians in one city.

I learn so much from attending conferences and events and love talking to other people within the profession – the largest conference I think I’ve attended until now was LILAC last year which had around 250 delegates. It was actually at this event that the seed was planted about attending ALA Annual. I really enjoyed speaking to international librarians and spent a lovely evening with a Canadian librarian at the conference dinner. She suggested that I might enjoy ALA Annual and said this year’s at New Orleans should be a really good one to attend. Since then I’ve been putting various things in place to try to get to ALA Annual. I hope I can meet up with her and buy a drink to thank her for giving me the motivation!

I joined the American Library Association (ALA) last November, and have been really impressed with what I get for my membership. There’s loads of information available for first time attendees of ALA Annual so I’ve been reading all about it whilst trying to source funding. Earlier this week I heard back from my application for John Campbell Conference/Travel Bursary to let me know that my application had been successful (I’ll be using this bursary and support from my employer to fund the trip). I am so thankful to have been given this opportunity and I’m now planning so that I can to make the most of it.

Plans for the trip

I’m really looking forward to hearing from international librarians about innovative developments in the LIS sector, and can’t wait to meet lots of librarians. I’ve been following many American library bloggers for a number of years now, many for longer than I have UK library bloggers, and I might finally get to meet some of the people behind the blogs. I may be too starstruck to say hello though!

As part of my application for funding, I also proposed a brief study visit to further my research in strategic marketing in academic libraries. Much of my literature review was based on US literature as there hasn’t been much into this area in the UK so far. ACRL released a study into marketing in academic libraries a few years ago which has been really useful for my research, but I’d like to know if things have changed at all since then. I’m hoping to speak to people at the conference about my research (and maybe even find people to interview), and I’m also hoping to plan a visit to a local university library. I’m particularly interested in visiting Louisiana State University libraries, so am ideally looking for contacts. If anyone can put me in touch with them I’d be very grateful! Also, if you are attending ALA Annual and interested in marketing academic libraries, please let me know – it would be great to chat to you (and if you’re attending and not that interested, I’d still love to meet you!).

Does anyone have any tips for attending ALA Annual? There’s so much to sort out and I don’t know what are must-do things! So far my schedule includes:

  • Conference orientation sessions (NMRT or International, unfortunately they clash which is a real shame as had hoped to attend both)
  • Gaming evening
  • Tweetup
  • Book Cart Drill World Championships – check out the video of last year’s winners!
  • Walking tour of New Orleans
  • International Round Table Reception Evening

I will of course be blogging and tweeting the conference (hopefully I’ll be able to use wireless access at the conference) so I’m sure there will be lots more blog posts about this before, during and after the conference. I don’t know if I’ll be able to contain my excitement so please bear with me!

  • Celine
    Posted at 16:49h, 11 March Reply

    I went a long time ago but it was great. Definitely make time to look round the exhibition. I bet you can set up lots of meetings though, I’ve always found US librarians to be incredibly helpful and generous with their time. Also having my accent when I was there meant lots of people just wanted to talk to me and I even got offered a job in Texas 🙂 You’re going to have a brilliant time and your plans look great.

    • Jo Alcock
      Posted at 17:20h, 11 March Reply

      Thanks Celine, hopefully the people I meet will be just as welcoming (I’m sure they will be!) 🙂

  • John
    Posted at 07:26h, 12 March Reply

    Stuff happens in NOLA. From my last trip there: http://is.gd/TheCouple

    You’ll have an awesome time. Guaranteed.


  • Katie Fraser
    Posted at 08:39h, 14 March Reply

    Congratulations Jo! It’s truly inspiring to see you try for this and pull it off: a good reminder of what ambition and persistence achieves.

    • Jo Alcock
      Posted at 09:07h, 14 March Reply

      Thanks Katie, I’m amazed I’ve managed to secure funding to be honest and have to keep checking the email to make sure it’s real. I’m so pleased to be able to take up such a fantastic opportunity, I can’t wait.

  • Godwin Peter
    Posted at 12:49h, 17 March Reply

    Congrats! I’ve only just seen this post. I was in Chicago for the ALA event a few years ago. I was invited by LibQual to speak at their meeting in the Hilton (about the biggest hotel I’ve ever seen), and my own Library (LSBU back then paid the accomodation in another hotel I might add, but it was classic Art Deco.. I didnt go to the Conference itself as I was helping out on the LibQual stand. If you think Olympia was big this exhibition centre was even bigger. I must admit the idea of 20,000 librarians altogether was a frightening thought. THey did look so much like UK librarians though…My session went well and they laughed in the right places. My main memory is of Chicago which I now know is one of the world’s great cities. So many skyscapers altogether. London is so patchy and messy with its skyscrapers, The shard will help though. I am sure you will love New Orleans : I’ve never been but have read only good.

    • Jo Alcock
      Posted at 17:30h, 17 March Reply

      Thanks Peter, I am really looking forward to it. Nice to hear that everyone was friendly, librarians are such welcoming people! 🙂

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