ALA Annual Conference 2017

I’m back from the ALA Annual Conference, which was held in Chicago this year! I had a great time, and am so glad I went!

Here are some of my highlights:

Several of my meeting slots were taken up by NMRT (New Members Round Table) meetings and events. I’ve been Treasurer-elect/Assistant Treasurer this past year, and now I’m transitioning into the Treasurer position. So I attended the NMRT Board Meeting, as well as the ALA Budget and Planning Assembly. I also got to meet the outgoing Treasurer, Easter, for the first time, and that was fun! Easter and I have been emailing and talking on the phone for the past year, so it was super to meet her in person and talk NMRT budget stuff.

I also attended the annual NMRT Social and Awards Reception, held at Ditka’s. It turned out to be a very nice location for our soirĂ©e, and a fun time was had by all! (Hats off to Rachael for organizing this fun NMRT event!)

I also attended a session called “Redesigning Technical Services for the 21st Century: A Case Study from the University of Alabama Libraries.” It was an interesting presentation to a standing-room-only crowd. I enjoyed hearing their stories, since the Tech Services Division where I work is going through a reorganization of well.

While I rarely visit the Exhibit Hall during conferences, I went this time to meet one of my favorite mystery writers, Susan M. Boyer! She was scheduled to sign books at the Sisters in Crime booth at a specific time, so I stopped by to say hello! It was so much fun meeting her!


Donna Herula at Buddy Guy’s Legends

On the non-conference side of things, I enjoyed a couple of dinners out. One was at a place called Buddy Guy’s Legends, a blues club that happened to be near my hotel. I got to hear live blues music (Donna Herula on guitar this time) over a plate of yummy shrimp creole!

Another evening, I met up with a group for Chicago-style deep dish pizza. I organized the group in a Facebook group of librarians coming to ALA Annual, and we met up at Lou Malnati’s. The pizza was yummy, and the group had a fun time! It was a nice opportunity to meet some Facebook friends, to boot!

All in all, I had a super time at ALA Annual and in Chicago! My NMRT treasurer duties will take me to Denver in January, and I can’t wait!





ALA Midwinter 2017

I’m back from ALA Midwinter 2017 in Atlanta, where I had a really good conference experience! Atlanta was a busy place this past weekend, with Midwinter, the local Women’s March, and an NFL Playoff game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers in the Georgia Dome, right next door to our convention center! I enjoyed the extra buzz and energy in the city!


Small Aquarium in Georgia Aquarium

Most of my meetings and activities were related to NMRT (the ALA New Members Round Table), but I also enjoyed the Elsevier Networking Reception Sunday night at the Georgia Aquarium. As part of the reception, we got to walk around on a self-guided tour, where I saw several people I know and met a fellow Duke alum who works for Elsevier now. One of my favorite parts of the Aquarium was watching the beluga whales, though my photos of them didn’t turn out well.

I also had lunch with a couple of colleagues, which was fun! On Sunday, I ate with a former library school classmate, and we hit the food court at the CNN Center, just before the pre-game influx of Falcon and Packer fans!

This conference experience was a little different for me, as I took my walker with me for assistance with my healing foot sprain. Having a walker for the conference gave me a different perspective on how things (like public restrooms and hotel rooms) are laid out for people with mobility issues. I also had to build in some extra rest time, so I missed some programs I would’ve enjoyed going to. I’m looking forward to the ALA Annual Conference this summer in Chicago!

ALA Midwinter 2015 in the Books

Last weekendm I attended ALA Midwinter in Chicago, and, I must say, it was a really good conference for me! I attended some interesting sessions, which ranged from panels to programs to roundtable discussions. Topics ranged from electronic resources to middle management issues to leadership development. I also enjoyed seeing colleagues from previous jobs as well as from Duke, as well as librarians I’ve met at previous conferences. Meal times turned into a great time to catch up with old friends and meet new people. (For two different meals, I shared a table with librarians I met “in the moment,” who also needed a place to sit. Loved that serendipity!)

Snow Outside McCormick Place, Chicago

Snow Outside McCormick Place, Chicago

On Sunday, a big snow came in, dumping a number of inches of the white stuff on the ground! Fortunately, I stayed in the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, which is connected to the convention center, also called McCormick Place. I was glad to be able to stay inside for my conference activities, since I’m not a polar bear! The snow was lovely, though!

I didn’t get to do any tourist activities this time, as I’d hoped, but I look forward to returning to Chicago in the future!

One of several highlights of my trip happened Friday morning, while I was waiting at the gate at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport for my airplane. I recognized Garrison Keillor walk by and have a seat at my gate! I texted George, who encouraged me to say hello to him. I did, and he shook my hand. It was over in a flash, but it was fun to meet him!

Getting Ready for ALA Midwinter 2015



I’m getting ready for my first ALA conference as a non-student! I graduated from NCCU SLIS just last month, and although I’ve been to ALA before, and I’ve been working in libraries for quite a while, this feels somewhat different. I’m thinking more (and differently) about the sessions I’ll attend, and I’m making a point of getting together with colleagues as well. Since ALA Midwinter is in Chicago, I’m also planning on bundling up! (Brrr!) I haven’t been to the Windy City since I was a teenager, so I’m really looking forward to the quick visit!