Volunteering At The NEOS Mini Conference

I attended another library conference on Friday, this time it was the NEOS Mini Conference. NEOS is a library consortium made up of academic, government and health libraries in and around Edmonton (and increasingly North/Central Alberta) that revolves around a shared catalogue of resources. I'm a huge supporter of NEOS, having worked in a NEOS library for the past two years while I was a student. I appreciate what it does for the libraries, and know and admire many, many librarians and library staff members that work in NEOS libraries.

So I crashed the conference. Well, not really. I offered to volunteer my time to help on the day. The NEOS manager (another one of my librarian heroes) kindly agreed to let me hang out.

I got there super early (seriously early) and helped set up the registration table. There were lots of other volunteers so it wasn't all that strenuous of anything. During registration I mostly just talked to library people and gave out 'swag bags'.

The Keynote was given by Punch Jackson, a library advocate and well known member of the library community. His main message was that if libraries are to survive, we must tell our story to everyone (patrons, community, government, funders). It's a simple, but powerful message, and one that library people don't tend to follow through with. We are nice folks, and don't often talk about or promote our worth.

After moving a box downstairs (see, I'm the best volunteer ever - that or many hands make light work...), I went to a session about library services to people with disabilities. I know the presenter, but missed the talk at the Alberta Library Conference in April, so was glad to have the chance to hear it finally. The presenter gave a lot of good, practical tips. Though a lot of it was common sense, it's always nice to be reminded of best practices that can help us serve all patrons.

Next up was lunch, and then I sat at the registration table during the following session. You might think that would've been super boring, but I read The Economist, a magazine I'd never read before. I learned just as much (about the world) as I would've in a session, plus helped a few people register and find the sessions, so it was a productive hour. There was another coffee break, and then I sat in on another session on finding free federal and provincial legislation online. It's a topic I do know much about, but it was a nice refresher anyways. After that it was goodbyes and thank yous, and then home time.

I had a really great day at the NEOS Mini Conference. I got to help out and learn more about how to run a conference. I learned stuff. Plus I got to talk to many, many wonderful library people. So I accomplished three of my favourite things in one day. Yay!

Once again I thoroughly enjoyed a library conference. I love being a librarian!

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