Thursday, October 25, 2007

MLA Wednesday afternoon

I sat in on part of a session, "Save Time and Money: Make OCLC Cataloging Partners Part of Your Workflow," on Wednesday afternoon. I found out that Minnesota School of Business, a library that uses the same integrated library system as us at MCTC, was using this program. This is something that we're thinking about doing at MCTC, so I made a note to follow up with Erica Nutzman, one of their librarians, about this. The information in general was useful, but making that connection will ultimately be much more beneficial later. One more reason to go to a conference - a nitty-gritty way to see how someone else has done something, and how you could maybe do things better. More importantly, now too I have a specific person to contact.

After that session, it was time to get ready to present my own session.

Presenting a session is a very different dynamic, of course from attending a session. Not everyone wants to be a presenter, but it is a powerful way to give back to one's profession. We all have something to share; we're all unique people with unique perspectives. In addition, library people are a pretty friendly bunch. So, you have a supportive audience overall. After Nicole and I presented, over the next couple of hours, several people came up to me later to comment on something I said that was meaningful to them, or to ask a follow-up question, further enriching the experience and helping me make more personal connections with the participants.

After our session, there was a reception in the exhibit area, so I went back there to be at our MCTC table. There were appetizers and soft drinks available, as well as a cash bar, to give people a chance to see what the exhibitors had.

Viewing the exhibits gives you an opportunity to look at "library-friendly" career options. There are publishers there, book and serial jobbers, library furniture and supply companies, library-related crafts, educational organizations that have resources for libraries (the Raptor Center was there with a bald eagle and a hawk... SUPER COOL!). If I were someone who might be doing a job hunt, here are all of these career options presented that respect my library background. What a nice opportunity to expand job search horizons. Yet another reason to go to a conference.

After the reception, it was off to dinner for more informal conversations with other conference-goers. Another informal, low-pressure networking opportunity.