This time next week, I’ll be in Chicago for the Annual Conference of the American Library Association. I feel fortunate that I have traveled as much as I have these past few years because of this conference and others and I quickly learned to love Chicago, so I am really looking forward to getting back. Not only is it a wonderful city but also I have a few great friends there. I was last in Chicago April a year ago when my girlfriend had a conference and I tagged along.
As much as I am looking forward to this trip, it will be a bit of a bittersweet adventure as it will be the last ALA conference I will be attending for the foreseeable future. Most of my involvement with ALA had been driven by the tenure track status of my previous job. That’s not to say I wasn’t authentically interested in what I became involved with. It’s just that the tenure track position came with the expectations and related financial support that made such involvement possible and sustainable.
I was heavily involved with the Video Round Table, serving for four years on the Notable Videos for Adults Committee and serving as the Vice Chair and then Chair of the VRT the previous two years. This upcoming conference marks the end of my obligations with the VRT as I finish my tenure as the Past Chair. I had also served on their Program Committee and Gala Committee. My work with the VRT has been incredibly rewarding and I’ve enjoyed working with so many wonderful people. Also within ALA, I served as Co-Chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries’s Media Discussion Group and helped form the Transliteracy Interest Group within ALA’s Library and Information Technology Association. I had a rather busy five or so years.
My current position is not tenure track and I will be looking for new ways to stay involved with the profession after the end of my ALA obligations next week. I have already started looking into ways to become more engaged locally and hope to attend workshops and conferences that don’t require extensive travel. I hope to make a triumphant return to Computers in Libraries in Washington DC next spring. CiL was the first conference I ever presented at seven years ago and I am looking forward to getting back after missing a few years being out west and having other obligations since being back east.
Although this will be the last ALA Conference I will officially be attending, I will be hanging around the next two conferences. Midwinter will be here in Philadelphia. My girlfriend has another year of obligations, so I plan on tagging along next summer when the conference will be in Las Vegas. That will be the first time I’ll be in Vegas since moving back to Philly two years ago.
I’m excited to see all my library and Chicago friends next week and am eager to discover what happens next.