What to pack? Lots of warm clothes. And of course my electronics, chargers, and batteries. Airline reservations? Hotel? Check, check. Schedule of events and programs to attend? Mostly done. Meeting agendas? Still need those files downloaded, possibly printed.
This year, I am focusing my professional association work on only a few groups, most prominent among them is APALA (Asian Pacific American Librarians Association). Much of the work I’ve been doing for APALA this year were accomplished via long-distance communications and virtual teams. As a consequence, I’ve come to know some APALA-associated names as part of an email message or listserv post. This Midwinter 2013, I am meeting many APALA librarians for the first time, face-to-face. An interesting trend that, I suspect, will become commonplace really soon, really fast.
Given the expense and the effort needed to attend these professional conferences, why do I bother? And why would my workplace bother to send me? I find great value in working with other professionals toward a common goal. Our conferences are one of the few ways we get to see each other (or meet each other for the first time). Besides this, professional conferences are where relevant, timely topics are discussed and debated among peers. We share information and solutions, too. More importantly, as a faculty colleague of mine declared, “you’ll be representing us.” Considering I take pains to represent my university and library well, both at conferences and with my professional association work, I was happy to hear her frame my conference attendance that way.