We’ve been back from ALA Midwinter for almost two weeks, and it’s about time I posted some thoughts. I can’t figure out how to fit the entire conference experience into one blog post — so I’ll do several….starting with set-up.
This is one of my favorite (and least favorites) parts of a conference.
1) You get to see all you friends (and make plans for dinner later) as you walk through the crowded and messy aisles to find your booth.
2) You’re filled with adrenaline from the flight and in anticipation of a great show.
3) I find it a fun intellectual challenge to fit the contents of all those boxes into the limited space of a trade show booth.
1) You just spent time in an airport.
2) You definitely forgot something.
3) At least one box is missing.
4) At least one table or riser is missing or broken.
So how did things fare on set-up day at this ALA Midwinter in San Diego? All of the above.
We found our booth easily, but one of our table skirts was torn and when we tried placing the tables, it seemed that our booth was about 3 inches short of 20 feet. Luckily, the exhibits people leave a card in the booth with a phone number. It took a couple of hours, but they did come and change the skirt and kick one of the poles holding up our “back wall” over a few inches.
Also, our supply box never arrived — it’s still AWOL as of today. Fortunately, we’re in a great business. With tape from one colleague, a box cutter from another, and some plastic ties (for tying the banner to the poles) from another, we did get our lovely booth set-up in good time. And we went shopping (Staples and Target) for a few much needed items the next morning.
That evening, we had dinner with friends and former colleagues. I spent the evening with folks from Macmillan and Egmont — and the Caldecott committee was also eating our restaurant. FYI, the committee still looked rested at that point. We, however, all felt a little sweaty from all the box lifting. But we were definitely ready to spend the next four days talking about books with librarians — the best kind of days!