Conference practices

4:25 am library conferences

Visiting countries other than one’s own provides new perspectives on how to do things one is accustomed to seeing done in a particular way. Having attended conferences in other countries the past few months, I have gained new perspectives on practices at library conferences. I have wondered which would enhance the conference experience for ALA members at ALA’s Annual Conference.

  • In May in Chihuahua the annual conference of Asociacion Mexicana de Bibliotecarios (AMBAC) opened with a series of speeches from local government officials and a uniformed color guard which presented Mexico’s flag. The assembly then sang the national anthem.
  • In June in Ukraine the Crimea 2008 conference in Sudak also opened with a series of speeches by local government officials and other dignitaries. The conference flag and Was raised as part of the opening ceremony. A spirited closing ceremony included performances by a military band a girls’ marching drum corps.
  • In July at the 2008 Sino-US Forum for Library Practice, co-sponsored by the Chinese American Librarians Association, in Kunming, China, participants sat at long tables. Each place was set with a notebook, pen, and a covered tea cup. Before the first session of the day started, hotel staff filled the cups, one by one, with hot water. During the session they replenished the hot water.
  • In August at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Quebec City, the closing session included a video about libraries and other cultural institutions in Milan, site of the 2009 conference. It also included a short musical performance by two young musicians who are students at the Verdi music school in Milan.

Which of these practices would enhance the participants experience at ALA’s Annual Conference? I am partial to the tea service at the Kunming conference; however scaling that from a conference for about 200 to a conference for more than 20,000 would be a huge challenge.

Which of these would ALA members welcome? Post a comment sharing your ideas!

Crimea 2008 Conference flag Crimea 2008 Conference closing ceremony

Sino-US Corum place setting Sino-US Froum tea server IFLA 2008 closing ceremony

16 Responses

  1. Robin Hastings Says:

    Having been to two international conferences this year myself, I applaud your efforts to bring some of their “best practices” to ALA. My favorite part of the UKSG conference I attended in April was the sit-down dinners for the entire conference each night. These gave conference attendees a chance to meet new people and to discuss the day’s sessions and activities with their peers without stressing out about what restaurant to go to or who was available on a particular night.
    The ACURIL 2008 conference in Jamaica in May featured many very talented cultural groups that came and performed at the opening session. The entire conference focused on the culture and traditions of the area.
    While the “whole conference” dinners might not scale well, cultural activities tied to the area in which the meeting is being held might be interesting!

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