Monday, June 27, 2011

ALA Wrap Up Q and A

Having attended several conferences (with the credit card bills to prove it), some of my fellow attendees have been texting and calling me with conference related questions. I thought I might share with everyone the answers to put your mind at ease if you, too, were wondering the same things but had no one to ask without fear of retribution. This is where I step in. Tabin to the rescue!

Q: How do I explain that I skipped a session?
A: If your supervisor asked you to attend a session, the only acceptable excuses for your absence had better involve copious amounts of blood, your water breaking, or alien abduction, and I'm not talking about the friendly aliens. I'm talking second head descends from major head, acid for blood, need-to-implant-something-in-your-belly aliens.

But if you've attended other sessions (bar sessions withstanding) and you are just plain worn out, you weren't doing anyone any favors by dragging yourself into a crowded room while looking like you had Ebola. With TSA rules we're unlikely to have had hand sanitizer handy, so you just placed visions-of-co-pays-dancing-in-our-heads. Not appreciated! If asked why you were absence, explain that you were in your hotel room recovering, or tell them you fell into the horse poop I almost stepped in on Bourbon Street, and that you had to decontaminate yourself.

Q: What if I didn't learn anything from my sessions?
A: Oh, you learned something all right. It just won't hit you for days, weeks or decades---take you're pick. Should you need to immediately present to your co-workers, select the session that stood out most to you, go over your notes, and fill your presentation with lots of words and pictures, etc. Everyone will be too distracted with your random use of bunnies and hot dogs to notice you babbled for 15 minutes.

Q: What if I threw away something important by accident?
A: Class notes are available on the ALA website, and everything else can be recreated. Believe me when I say the vendors will be more than happy to send you more. Check your e-mail. There's probably 20 duplicate copies waiting for you at this very moment.

Q: My co-workers and I were supposed to present separate PowerPoints, but we both attended the same sessions. What should I do?
A: Type faster than your co-worker.

Q: What do I do if I forgot my business cards? Does this mean my whole conference experience was a waste?
A: In my 5 years of attending conferences I have passed out hundreds of cards, yet I could count on one hand the number of people who called me, and half of them were part of a bachelor party that was flying on my plane. I wouldn't be overly concerned.

Q: What do I do with the business cards and flyers I did receive?
A: Before you toss everything into the recycling bin, try to remember not only what the vendors told you, but what your co-workers said they needed. Example: I don't need book carts. Why would I? I spend my day singing songs about pink pigs, directing people back to the first floor where the bathrooms and holds are, and telling teens things such as, "These are stairs, not chairs," and "In or out!" However, one of my friends needs book carts, thus when I saw them on sale (my favorite word in the world behind "chocolate," "free," and "massage") I texted her and saved the flyer. Maybe you had a good conversation with someone about storytime. Perhaps you will only contact one another once or twice over your career, but their offered info could save you a ton of time and effort, so go ahead and put them in your address book.

Q: I'm tired but my family is still bugging me. What do I do?
A: Toss them some packets of ramen noodles, a few Disney DVDs, and lock yourself in the bathroom until July 5th.

Okay, it's time for me to go recover.

Recently someone came in to get this CD, and I suddenly remembered how much I loved this album and after I hear I I'm suddenly not so tired. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And We're Off!

ALA New Orleans is right around the corner and I have been packing my bags---sans more than 3 ounces of liquid per containers that can fit in a 1 quart plastic bag, of course. It's a joy and a pain to go on a trip. First I had to make storytime arrangements and clean at work. Thanks to Stephenee, the Pink Piggy Song is already on YouTube, so that was one less melody I had to repeatedly sing to the other staff members. Then I had to clean at home. Though I don't live alone, it's nice to return to a nice clean haven. And if it's not clean, I have someone to else to not only blame for this mess, I can make it seem like they are responsible for all other messes created in my vicinity since the Reagan administration. Packing was actually the easiest thing, except for the part in which I poured my hair care products into tiny unmarked tubes. Thankfully I’m flying Southwest, the only airline that seems to realize people don’t wear all their clothes on top of each other like Shirley temple did in that movie I saw on TCM.

This is my most favorite time of the year: dress up time! I try to wear nice things to conference because, hey, I’m a librarian. Chances are slim to none for librarians to meet famous people once in their lives, let alone twice. Must make a good impression the first (and only) time around. It’s a time of year in which I get little sleep because I jam pack my schedule. It’s soooo exhilarating to run from one overlapping class to another and another while sweating profusely in nice clothes. And it’s also a time of year in which I just might get to see my family, only this time I’m doing on purpose and I won't screech at my mother, “You weren’t suppose to tell them I was in Chicago!”

This here is my niece. Isn’t she gorgeous? She looks even better without the lamination reflections. I’m looking forward to seeing her…if my brother can get the logistics together. After all, this is the brother I was supposed to see last week but didn’t. (His fault!) He also sent us to the wrong airport for his wedding, then tried to convince me that it was my idea. (It wasn’t!) So while I look forward to seeing her (and the high school graduation pictures he took of me but never gave me), I also signed up for a free cocktail party that night to avoid anyone seeing me crying in a bar. Alone. By myself. With no one. (Yes, I've learned guilt-tripping from my mother.) And I’d be crying because I want to see my family, and not because alcohol at non-library functions comes out of my pocket instead of a vendor's.

I used my niece’s cute little picture for our Mother’s Day placemat sample. If you, too, would like to make a this craft, it’s fairly simple.

1. Put up your sample work 2 weeks before the program and encourage people to bring adorable pictures from home.
2. Print out words on card stock (Mommy’s Little Angel, Baby’s First Christmas, Toddler’s Third Tantrum, etc.)
3. If you do not have a die-cut machine, have teenage "volunteers" cut out cute little flowers/3 leaf clovers/make homemade confetti with the hole punch.
4. Set out glue sticks, stickers, etc. and let people create their own piece of art. (Word of advice---don’t make the mistake of leaving a stray foam sticker or two in the mix.)
5. Have a volunteer laminate the placemat.

Hopefully, if I'm not too busy roaming in search of free food, I will blog from the conference instead of saving it up. Have fun---I will!