Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

What I’m not bringing to ALA

with 8 comments

girl with suitcase

Travel is stressful by *Seth on Flickr

There are some pretty intriguing posts popping up around the web detailing what people are packing for the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans. Some of my favorites can be found at Librarian Wardrobe, but there are also packing/conference tips from Bobbi Newman at Librarian by Day and and advice from Karen Schneider at Free Range Librarian. Be sure to check them out if you’re attending!

My post is a bit different. Here are four things you won’t find me bringing to ALA 2011:

  1. Laptop. I typically drag my MacBook with me to conferences. I tend to take notes by hand (gasp!) in a small notebook that I can toss into my purse and then type them up at night or post-conference. Occasionally, I bring my laptop to sessions but only if I am fairly certain I will be able to find an outlet nearby (this beast is a power hog). But for NOLA, I will be sans personal computer for six days. I got an iPhone a few weeks back so I am hoping that will be enough connectivity to sustain me, but I already know I’ll feel naked! I am planning on using my phone to check email, keep up with Twitter, etc. and maybe the hotel business center if I miss the clickity-clack of a keyboard during my stay.
  2. Work. Oh, out-of-office-auto-responder, how I love thee. Let me count the ways… I will refrain from work email during ALA (part of the reason for saying it out loud here is to hold myself accountable). I will focus on networking, my presentations & learning from/having fun with my colleagues. The library will not implode. No one will die. I will catch up next week. I will not feel guilty about this.
  3. Workout stuffs. Yeah, I tried this at a few conferences. It wound up being a waste of expensive suitcase space for running shoes, etc. and it just never happens! I am either too damn tired at the end of a day of conference sessions or too darn drunk to run on a treadmill. Some people can make it happen, but I just don’t have enough willpower.
  4. Pleasure reading. I can always snag free books in the exhibit hall if so inclined. However,  I have found that if you have a ton of time to relax and read, you might not be getting as much out of the conference as you could be. I will get out of my room (and my comfort zone) to make the most of this trip while paying attention not to overextend myself mentally or physically.

So, what are you leaving behind when you head to ALA later this week?


Written by Erin Dorney

June 21, 2011 at 8:40 PM

8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I always waver on the “bring a computer or don’t” thing. I get annoyed, just using the iPhone, so this year I’ve brought a netbook. It’s one of the older ones, with a really low-res screen, so it’s only a *little* more functional than the iPhone… It’s mostly for the keyboard that I have it. And I don’t know if the power will last all day–I should probably pick up a small paper notebook (I forgot mine, and I’m already in NO, to explore for a couple of days), just in case the power runs out.

    I agree with you on the rest of it–I never have time to read or work out or do anything besides conference stuff and sleeping, when conference is happening!


    June 22, 2011 at 9:45 AM

  2. Well, I am leaving the entire conference at home. Jen and I talked about how I wish we were going so we’d get to see you! Let me know if you pick up anything great!!

    Jason W. Dean

    June 22, 2011 at 10:02 AM

  3. Don’t forget that the Internet Cafe in the convention center in case you need a desktop with full monitor for a few minutes. 🙂

    Jenny Levine

    June 22, 2011 at 10:48 AM

  4. Great post! I was initially planning to bring workout gear but after looking at my schedule realized it would be impossible. I’m sure walking around a ton will still be good exercise 🙂

    Nicole Pagowsky

    June 22, 2011 at 2:17 PM

  5. […] What I’m Not Bringing to ALA by Erin Dorney […]

  6. I don’t think I could leave my laptop at home for six whole days, but I won’t be bringing it to sessions or out of my hotel room much. I like to be able to write up my thoughts at the end of the day, and to check in with email (I can’t get work email on my phone thanks to bureaucratic restrictions).

    I’m definitely leaving the workout gear at home. I keep thinking I should bring it, and then remembering it will get no use.

    And I bought two new books about New Orleans for my Kindle, but I suspect these will be mostly airport reading, and falling asleep at night reading, and “I need a few minutes to think of anything not related to librarianing” reading.

    laura k

    June 22, 2011 at 10:01 PM

  7. I’m still wavering on the Laptop. I have a smart phone that doesn’t do email well. I’m thinking of bringing the laptop mainly to have for the layovers in airports. I have to have books to read for the flight there, but I will only bring two paperbacks. Hmm. Maybe I should just plan to use the ALA Internet cafe….


    June 22, 2011 at 10:19 PM

  8. Nicole was on the right track! I finally asked, and discovered that it was a mile-and-a quarter walk from breakfast at the atrium to the far end of the convention floor (much further if you walked from one of the Hiltons). So we got 2-4 miles of walking in each day, not including traipsing up and down escalators or around the exhibit floor. No need for extra workout gear, and bringing my laptop qualifies as weight-lifting.

    I feel better about that pecan pie I ate!


    June 30, 2011 at 8:32 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s