I’ve been privileged to attend ALC for the last three years. It’s held annually at the Jasper Park Lodge and in addition to being held at one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, is a lot of fun.
The conference is held over three days, the first day is pre-registration and pre=conference. For me that is generally a travel day. The next two days are packed full of great sessions and social activities.
This year Day 1 involved getting ready (early!) for a bus trip. As a Library System we have quite a few people that attend every year, so it’s cost effective for us to “carpool” on the way there and back. It makes it a longer trip, but it also allows us to socialize on the way there, and having someone else drive really isn’t a bad thing. I love the trip through the mountains, and it’s even better when I don’t have to watch the road.
I hit a minor snag upon arrival, they’d misplaced or mistyped my registration information, happily my manager also did the trip planning and had a clipboard with all the confirmation numbers and other information handy. It ends up being around a 7 hour trip, so by the time we get off the bus, all I want to do is head back to my room and chill until dinner. Which is what I end up doing.
Meals during the conference are always interesting and unique. They are served buffet style, in the huge central ballroom, with usually 5 o r 6 separate buffet setups at different locations throughout the room. Now – as you know I generally don’t like people, so having to eat in a crowded room with a thousand strangers is not my idea of a good time. I deal with this in one of two ways – I go late, when people have eaten and are genrally leaving – or I go really early, eat quick and then dash for the exits. Breakfast is usually my “late” and everything else I do early. I’m also not a morning person, eventually do a write up about that too.
Day 2 begins with breakfast and a keynote. This year was ChoirChoirChoir – which got the whole ballroom off to a singing start to the day. Ever been the person sitting down looking around while everyone was standing and arm waving and singing to a song you only know the melody to? Yeah it was awkward for me too. I tried the second time around, but performing isn’t my thing.
After that the sessions ran until lunch (back to the ballroom for a crowded meal), then more sessions until dinner. The evening was capped off with an author talk, and some paid for activities. I never look in to the activities since I generally am ready to go pass out from brain overload by the end of the day and my social meter is maxed out from supper.
Day 3 follows much the same as day 2. Another keynote and more sessions. The day ends a bit earlier to let people attend the meeting for their respective association, and the evening is finished off with more paid events, and the all attendee themed dance. I always hear that people have a good time at the dance, but since it involves two of my least favourite things (strangers and dancing) I’ve never attended. Next year though I’ll make an effort to dress up for the dinner so I’m not so out of place. I always forget to look at the theme before packing.
Day 4 is an early start and another day long bus trip back home. As wonderful as the experience is, I’m never sure if I’m relaxed, or even more wound up by the time I get home. I know I need extra sleep to recover, but that might be because of all the extra walking I end up doing making my way around the grounds.
Looking forward to next year!