Sometimes, it’s all about the journey
Spring is finally upon us here in Toronto after a lingering winter and what feels like months of rain. When the trees are leafing, the robins are singing, and the tulips are tulipping, my mind naturally turns to thoughts of renewal and regeneration, and also to conferences! Spring is conference season and I have the badge-holders to prove it. By the end of May, I will have travelled from Halifax to Victoria to work the tradeshows at library conferences across Canada. I’ll have seen the sun rise on both coasts, driven through the Canadian Rockies, and enjoyed the long twilight of a spring evening on the Prairies. I’ll treasure those memories then next time I set my alarm for 3.45 AM to catch an early flight!
When you stop and think about it, there is something inspiring about people putting aside their daily lives for a few days to meet with colleagues from across the country, converging on cities which, until that moment, had often just been dots on a map, unknown and unvisited by the delegates. There’s a whole process around getting to know a new city that is just fascinating. In peeling away the layers of unfamiliarity and adjusting to the rhythms and routines of life in new, albeit temporary, surroundings, I learn new things about myself, and when I return home, I see my life and my work in Toronto with new eyes. And of course, whenever I’ve pitched my metaphorical tent in the Exhibits Hall at a conference, I’ve met interesting people from around the world. In doing so, I’ve increased my knowledge of both my chosen profession as a librarian, and also of the new path I’m forging as a vendor.
One day, I’ll write an exposé about my other life as a “booth babe”, but on June 12th, I head to Philadelphia for the 2011 SLA Conference as a delegate, a completely different experience. I’m really excited about this year’s conference and I hope to see many of you there. Thomas L. Friedman, the author of The World is Flat and Hot, Flat and Crowded will give the opening keynote address on Sunday, June 12th at 6PM and it’s sure to be thought- and (my personal favourite!) debate-provoking.
SLA’s 2011 theme is “Future-Ready” and if there was ever a time to be future-ready, that time is now. Whatever you call yourself – librarian, knowledge manager, information professional, strategic knowledge professional, information specialist, consultant – the name of the game is Change, and the pace is Fast. Like flying across the Rockies, sometimes, it can be a bumpy ride. Have courage and know that we are all on this journey together. True, the goal of every journey is to get from point A to point B. However, the space in between provides many opportunities for learning and for discoveries that enrich our lives and the lives of the people around us. The destination is important, and results are important, but so is the process. Sometimes, it’s all about the journey.
At this year’s conference, you can book an appointment with a career coach (why not?!), be a tourist for an afternoon, give back to the community by donating to the Dress for Success service project, and of course participate in a variety of sessions. Check out the convenient online Conference Preview to plan your experience. You’ll find everything from Building Targeted Social Communities (p. 21) to e-Commerce Taxonomies (p. 18), to the KM Café (p. 17), to the Realities of a Successful Job Search (p. 22). I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you to stop by the tradeshow to talk to your sales representatives and to thank the sponsors of this year’s conference. The conference will conclude with a closing keynote address by James Kane, who spoke from the heart at the 2010 Leadership Summit on the topic of loyalty.
Does this sound like a hectic schedule? Well, one of the keys to personal and professional success is knowing when to relax and recharge, and the Toronto Chapter has got you covered. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of our partner, CEDROM-SNi, we’re hosting the 2011 Canadian Reception at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on Monday, June 13th at 5.30PM in Salon G. Tickets are $5 and are on sale via the Conference Scheduler. Please join me, President-Elect Laura Warner, Programming Director Elysia Guzik, Technology Director Kim Silk, our two FPinfomart Student to Conference winners Yannet Lathrop and Janina Mueller, representatives from CEDROM-SNi, and friends and colleagues from across Canada and around the world for a glass of wine and some hors d’oeuvres before you head out to explore the many fine restaurants in Philadelphia.
Do you have what it takes to make flexibility, resilience, and continuous learning a lifestyle? I think you do, and I want to learn from you, so pack your bags and hit the road! Let’s meet in Philadelphia at the SLA 2011 Annual Conference!