Monday, October 29, 2007

ALAO 2007: From the Registration Desk

As a conference planning committee member, those few days after the conference ends are a time of contemplation and recovery. After catching up on my sleep, I spent some time reviewing the best and the worst of the conference from my strange perspective behind the registration desk.

This is my fourth conference as a planning committee member and one thing that I've learned over that time is that the best place to be is the registration desk. I get to talk to so many people! Everyone has to stop at the registration desk at some point during the conference so I get to chat with old friends, put faces to names that have long been showing up in my email from discussion lists, and make connections with people I haven't met or heard of before.

The highlights: connecting with old friends, including one from a previous job (Tom Marker now at OSU's Health Sciences Library) and another from library school (Laura Kinner from University of Toledo); a discussion with some of our library science student volunteers about the advantages and disadvantages of online learning; talking with OHIONET's Roman Panchyshyn about the future of cataloging; joking with my fellow planning committee members; surprising myself by performing some non-conference-related reference work for attendees; working with the Greater Columbus Convention Center's network guy, Jeff Greenwood; resolving some membership issues for attendees; watching the GCCC folks set up AEP's "Monte Carlo" room on Thursday night and laughing at the dancing waiter; hearing positive comments about many of the presentations and poster sessions; the mushroom ravioli at lunch; Clifford, the bell-captain at the Hampton Inn, and his cheerful and helpful attitude; and sitting at the lunch table with Betsy Blankenship when she discovered she was this year's Jay Ladd Award winner (Yeah, Betsy!).

The downside: the temperature in the ballrooms and lobby were too cold; the noise from the AEP Monte Carlo event (especially the often out-of-tune karaoke singers!) on Thursday night; the sudden disappearance of the coffee on Friday morning (AUGH!); the mini-crises on Thursday as we were setting everything up for the conference; the horrible tiramsu at lunch; and not getting as many of the presentation PowerPoints/Handouts as I had hoped for the ALAO website (

Overall, feedback has been pretty good but we'll have examined all the evaluations in another couple of weeks so we'll have a better idea of the level of success for this conference. Planning a conference is a lot of work and I'd like to pass on my thanks to Doug Morrison, Chair of this year's committee, for all his support and enthusiasm when I was losing mine, and to a great group of people who kept me laughing through it all: Joyce Burnett, John D. Crissinger, Alice Crosetto, Ione Damasco, Kevin Deemer, Matthew Farthing, Lori Fielding, Kevin Furniss, Brian C. Gray, Stephena Harmony, Angel M Jackson, Krista McDonald, Melanie McGurr, Diana Nichols, Sue Polanka, Diana S. Riemenschneider, Oliva P. Riley, Rob Withers.

In the meantime, the 2008 Conference planning process is getting underway. If anyone is interested in being a member of the planning committee, please contact the Conference Planning Committee Chair, Karen Wilhoit at karen.wilhoit at It's a great opportunity to contribute to ALAO and meet a wonderful bunch of people.

1 comment:

Betsy said...

I agree with karen about the wonders and sometimes the disappointments of being on a planning committee. I, too served on 4 in a row, and the one thing I learned was that you will never please everyone with food, temperature of rooms and location. So the committee does the best they can.

I was so surpsied and honored to receive the Jay Ladd award and it clearly showed (I hope you didn't take any pictures of me!)

I have and will always be supporive of our local ACRl chapter because it can do so much for library folks who are just starting out or who cannot afford to travel to national conferences. People will always be the key to the greatness and success of any ogranization and ALAO has had the privilege of having so many wonderful people serve the organization over the years. I am so humbled to be able to join those previous winners of the Jay Ladd Award

I look forward to the 2008 Conference, too