I think the most valuable part of a conference for me are those moments when I end up talking to strangers, comparing notes on what they're doing and what we're doing. All of you who know me realize that I'm not at all shy, and I will talk to just about anyone. I think that is a huge strength at something like a conference. I talked to people in line at the Fed Ex store, I talked to people on the shuttle bus, I talked to people in the elevator at the hotel, at lunch, on the exhibit floor, waiting for sessions to begin, heck, I was probably talking to people in my sleep (you'll have to ask Brandy about that).
So, what is to be gained from this proclivity towards conversation? I've learned a lot! Here are some things I got from gabbing this past week:
- a greater appreciation for the support we get from our administrators when it comes to beefing up security in our locations (and standing behind us when we uphold the rules!) This is really big because there are folks out there who get no training, aren't allowed to hire security officers, have no cameras, aren't allowed to evict anyone, etc.
- lots of requests for me to email our code of conduct to people (probably 5-6 business cards say this!)
- cool SWAG from vendors
- news about free receptions
- more indepth information about Burgeon Group, the folks who make the early literacy manipulatives that CML is looking into getting for every location
- news from old friends about where they are and what they're doing
- a picture of what it's like to be in a small library (like the "Director" of a small library in rural Illinois who only has 3 employees)
- some new knitting buddies (OK, so it wasn't professional talk every waking moment!)
- pats on the back for having some really great programs at CML (4 sessions presented by us! wow!)