Oh, the places you will go, the things you will see at a PLA Conference!

Oh, the places you will go, the things you will see at a PLA Conference!

By Carrie Stefanski

My first week on the job back in December, I was told to save the date for the 2014 PLA Conference and plan to stay to see David Sedaris. At that moment, I knew I made the right career move. My conference experience was everything I hoped it’d be and the conference itself was a whole lot bigger than I imagined. I had a couple conferences under my belt, but neither matched up to the greatness of PLA.

Signage was aplenty and space in the Indiana Convention Center was fully utilized. PLA took over two floors with check-in, session rooms, lunch sessions, and the exhibit hall. The conference wrapped nicely around Comic Con, which made for the most excellent people watching, and the Big Ten basketball tournament, which made for some interesting conversations. Well, to be fair, interesting conversations, or converstations, were a huge part of PLA—facilitated collaboration at its finest.

I talked with librarians about their mission statements and how they collaborate with and provide resources for local businesses. It was fun and insightful; participants were really learning from each other’s experiences. Twitter proved to be another way to interact with attendees; I live tweeted nearly every session that I attended. Following #pla2014 tweets was a great way to get the scoop on missed sessions. @GalePublic shared the happenings from: Always be Circulating, Want Collaboration? Engage your Community, Walk the Talk: Executing your Mission Statement, and Libraries Mean Business: Supporting Local Economic Development.

The PLA app was helpful to keep my schedule organized. Although I can’t pride myself on navigating, but I did make it where I wanted to be every time, starting out with Simon Sinek. I was hoping he would talk about the Golden Circle,

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but instead he talked about the circle of safety, tribes, leaders, dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin. We get dopamine from checking things off to-do lists and oxytocin from just seeing a good deed. Though it wasn’t the topic I initially thought, I wasn’t disappointed and definitely got my science fix with his inspirational speech.

Attendees had to be very strategic with their time at PLA. I walked by all the booths, but that was about it. Seeing a librarian have a conversation with a robot was definitely a highlight. Gale was one of 350+ exhibitors and I spent quality time in the Gale booth, where I directed customers to sales reps to discuss the details and demo our education-focused products. I continued to watch the booth presentations on Career Online High School and GVRL through the eyes of the health nut, avid gardener, and explorer and picked up something new from the Q&A every time.

When David Sedaris walked across the stage on Saturday, all tweeting came to an end so I could just sat back and laugh for the remainder of PLA, an excellent ending to an excellent conference. 🙂
[alert-info]Carrie Stefanski

About the Author

Carrie is starting her public library career after six years in higher education IT. She has a B.S. in written communications, gets her work/life balance playing roller derby, and still has her first library card.

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