If I’m a #Vendorbrarian, then the American Library Association conference is definitely the Vendorbrary. It is the great gathering of all library service/product providers to promote wares, visit with customers, and continue relationships. There are two ALA conferences: Midwinter in January/February and Annual in June.
If you aren’t familiar with librarians coming to conference, check out this 5 minute documentary on the March of the Librarians from 2007.
For those of us not in libraries, we give presentations, answer questions in the exhibit booth, and generally promote goodwill. Here are some of the realities that come with working at the Vendorbrary:
- Walk multiple blocks between your hotel and convention center in frequently changing weather
- Stand for hours on a concrete-based exhibit floor during your booth duty shift. Quality low-heeled shoes become a requirement
- Be around people for 18 straight hours
- Answer any question asked of you by a customer, whether exceedingly minute or vastly vague in scope, with goodwill and unending patience
- Debate between walking back to your hotel for 20 minutes or eating a sandwich while sitting on the conference center floor
Lest you think it’s all doom and gloom, here are my favorite parts:
- Seeing all my friends from libraries across the country — I love hugs!
- Spending time catching up and bonding with my coworkers. Since we are all on the road, it’s rare we can all be together
- Hearing from customers I’ve visited who are now live and happy on their new software
- Strolling the exhibit hall to see new book published and the traditional Baker & Taylor cats
There are other, smaller conferences, but none match the full Vendorbrary experience quite like the ALA meetings.