The Rhythm of Conferences
I am always amazed and humbled when I attend conferences. I go to meetings and programs...and then I attend what I consider to be the "real" conference. The part where I sit down or stand in the hall or share an appetizer or a drink or a laugh or a chat with a friend, or a colleague or new acquaintance. I might be talking to a young librarian or a coworker or a friend I've known since...I don't know ...forever. Or maybe someone I've only known online, now here, IRL.
Whomever I meet, whomever I reconnect with, whomever I talk to, these are the people who enliven me, who sustain me, who challenge me, who humble me. Maybe they are new MLIS folks who, without a thought or maybe a realization, push the envelope beyond where it's been. It might be doc students who are fresh eyed but steely and battling forward in research and library awesomeness. It might be my old compadres - those who have worked in the field and worked for the association and broken so many barriers we can barely remember them all. It might be those in mid-career who are stepping out and up as leaders in the association.
We talk smack. We talk libraries. We talk the future. We talk nurturance and support. We talk about our seasons and our power - when it waxes and when it wanes. We push and push and push and lift the veil of the possible and make it inevitable and probable and then, like magic, reality.
These are my colleagues. These are my friends. These are my companions on the road to excellence in library service. Whether we feel mighty or in need of rest, here we are. Together, focused. In a band. My tribe.
This rhythm is the one that generates ideas statewide or nationally. This is the spark, the ignition and the push that generates new ideas and efforts. And I get to be part of the gestalt and the celebration.
So if you ever wonder what is the use or the purpose of going to conferences or whether we can do it all online, I urge you to attend regional, state and/or national meetings. You'll grow a little or alot. And after all, isn't that why we are really in this?