Monday, 31 October 2011

Thing 15: Attending, presenting at and organising seminars, conferences and other events

Attending conferences
The benefits of attending conferences are endless; from learning about new things and keeping up with stuff going on in your professional community to making the most of networking opportunities and forging valuable contacts. However, the downside is that these things tend to cost money. This is partly the reason why it has been a very long time since I’ve attended any. Even with discounts offered by organizing bodies such as CILIP, ASLIB and ARLIS, the costs can be pretty high. That said, if something came up that I felt I really needed to attend I think that my line manager would try and get it sorted.

The benefits were brought home to me recently when my colleague Kristine at Taken for binding went along to the very first Library Camp UK and came back with lots of new and interesting ideas. She has written a series of posts on the sessions she attended on her blog.

Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to attend some presentations and workshops organised by Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation [CLIC] and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Mostly they are presentations given by different kinds of Librarians in and around the South Wales area. In fact, the next one I am attending is this month and is on the subject of social media in libraries. CLIC events are very well organised but retain a relaxing and informal atmosphere and quite frankly, there’s nothing I like more than listening to other Librarian’s experiences especially when they work in a library so very different from my own. The great thing about these types of events is that they invariably conclude with a tour of the hosting organisation and I really enjoy a good old nose about!

This is something I have a serious problem with – speaking in public. I’ve always been the same. When I was doing my first degree we had to give weekly seminars to the rest of the class [only about 25] and I worked myself up into a right state over them. I struggled through but was always being told I rushed them and I got the most terrible headaches after doing them. Well, that was all a very long time ago and I have been fortunate enough not to have had to do anything like that since. However, things change and there will probably come a time when will be called on to talk publicly about my place of work and I would hate it if I had to cry off. I hope I’d be okay, I’m certainly not as nervous as I used to be and think that if I was 100% organised, I could get through it. I loved reading Phil Bradley’ article on speaking in public; it actually made me feel like I really could do it!

The exercise for this thing was to blog about experiences with conferences [which I have done] but also about organising them; which is something I have never done. I am a fairly organised person so I think I’d probably be okay [and enjoy] the leg-work but I can imagine that the actual event could be horrendously stressful but ultimately immensely fulfilling and exciting. Maybe I'll get the cahnce to organise something here in the near future, I do hope so.

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