Having fun at ALA

Who says that librarians can’t let their hair down and have some fun? The LITA happy hour on Friday at the Mixx Bar was a great example to the contrary. The bar area was filled with people networking, chatting, and generally having a good time.

I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had never been to a LITA event before and didn’t know anyone there. However, people all around were smiling and many people were quick to open their circle and let a new-comer join the conversation. I met Abigail Goben the Hedgehog Librarian wearing a hedgehog necklace, two new incoming LITA Board members, and many others.

LITA Happy Hour conversation at 2010 Annual

It’s great to host a happy hour on the first night because it gives people the opportunity to meet people casually before the conference really begins. Also, have you heard that word-of-mouth is the best way to get out information about your organization’s events and services? The same applies to happy hour. I invited several people to the Mixx who hadn’t heard about the event but who were happy (for at least an hour) to join in the fun.

LITA recruits at 2010 Annual

Some of the great tidbits of conversation topics I heard were:

  • The awesomeness and efficiency of making group decisions online, rather than at long meetings with stacks of paper
  • The importance of cross-training all staff members to break down those silo barriers
  • The necessity (sometimes) of moving around the country to get the job you want – then having to tough it out in that location for a least a few years before looking for new jobs

The take away message? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and have a good time with your fellow librarians/techies. After a long day of panels and discussions it’s nice to have a chance to “talk shop” over a pint of beer and see what new solutions and opportunities arise. And if you missed the LITA happy hour, maybe you can crash another division or round table get-together!

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