Whew! That was a whirlwind of a conference and I had an absolute blast at my first ever ALA Annual Conferece. I hope some of you stopped by and got a look at my Twitter feed; I tried to keep you all as up to date as possible with what I was doing at the conference and what meetings I was attending.
But first, some awesome info.
I really love how inclusive ALA tried to make the whole conference. They had a number of bathrooms that they had labeled as non-gender specific which I thought was really amazing for everyone to be able to use a public restroom without feeling judged or like they didn’t belong. I didn’t get a photo of it, but I really thought that was amazing.
In addition to that, I also collected a variety of ribbons, pins, and so forth to show that I was also trying to be inclusive of everyone as well. I even found this fun lezbrarian ribbon, but I thought it would be cool if next time there were other cool LGBTQIA ribbons for people, but I’m not sure all of them would work when combined with the word, “librarian” (“Bibrarian” was suggested by Instagram user @PresidentSarah and I thought of “Non-Binarian” for everyone that doesn’t fit the gender binary (myself included)). There were also blood drives to help out the Orlando victims and a really nice memorial service early Saturday morning to acknowledge the lives lost in the Pulse shooting only two weeks before.
I also saw this really awesome display from the Harry Potter Alliance called Protego which was all about trans rights and you could even fill out a postcard to mail to North Carolina urging them to repeal the HB2 act that prevents transgender individuals form using the bathroom with the gender they identify with. They even had these wonderful cards you could use to fill out your preferred pronouns! I was so excited I grabbed a bunch of postcards to take home for some folks to fill out and some pronoun cards too.
I also went to several meetings on Fandom and how we can get more diverse comics/graphic novels/manga in libraries. I even got a free comic book called Faith that I have heard about but never read, so I’m looking forward to checking that out (I even got it signed by the author!).
In addition to that interesting stuff I went to several meetings concerning career development and learned how to ace my interview, polish up my resume, and what to do or not do during the job search/interview process.
On Saturday I even got a chance to meet with alumni, current students, and some faculty (including one of my favorite professors from my Hyperlinked Library class last fall) and I had a blast. I met an alumnus that used to be a retail manager and I was so happy that someone else had gone from the retail life to library school and eventually moved on to a library job. There’s hope for me yet! Now if only there would be more library opportunities in Connecticut….
I also picked up a ton of ribbons and swag. I really need to remember to bring an empty checked bag next time. Thankfully there was a post office right there in the exhibit all where I could ship out the stuff I couldn’t take home with me on the plane.
All in all it was an excellent conference and I can’t wait to go to the next one. I’ve also been inspired by what I have seen of the Harry Potter Alliance that I think I need to start a CT chapter, especially since there isn’t one for CT (for shame!). I’ve already gotten a few friends on board and we’re just trying to come up with ideas for what matters most to the CT community. This topic actually works really well with things I spoke about in my Hyperlinked Library course. I love when courses have real-world applications. I’ll try and keep you posted about what’s happening with that and if we get going and you’re in the CT area and you’d like to join let me know in the comments!