I recently attended the National Acquisitions Conference in York. Thankfully, library management in my institution are very encouraging when it comes to continuing professional development and they came to me with the idea. As my contract is project-based there was funding already allocated and my colleague was also attending as she was leading a workshop on our Collections Review Project. The conference was very well organised and new delegates were identifiable by stickers on their name-tags. This meant that the conference organisers could make sure they got around and introduced themselves which I felt was a very nice touch. There was also a slightly earlier drinks reception for new delegates before the conference dinner which meant we could hang out with people in the same boat and get to know each other.
When attending conferences I do sometimes tend to stick to people I know. I find it hard to branch out when I don’t absolutely have to. Having said that, I think workshops at events are great because they force you into discussion. I always try to take notes as I like to write up conferences for the purposes of documenting my CPD. In fact I will be writing a report on the NAG conference for Libfocus (which reminds me that is another thing on my to-do list!!) At this conference they experimented with Glisser; unfortunately, there were a few issues especially regarding android tablets but I can see these being a very useful tool once the kinks are ironed out. The idea is to allow people access to the slides and be interactive while taking notes, tweeting etc.
One thing I would say about attending events like this is that it is always a good idea to go over your notes and the presentations again when they are available. There’s always far too much to take in on the day.
As for next time I guess I’ll try to chat to a few more people. I would love to find a new professionals group event to attend as I think I would feel a bit more comfortable in that environment. However, the important thing is that although they can be slightly nerve-wracking I will continue to attend events because once I get past the initial nerves it is great to meet new people and it is always great to learn new things.