On Wednesday the 14th from 7.30am – 12.30pm I was a student volunteer at the 2011 ALIA National Library & Information Technicians Conference. This on its own is an excellent opportunity for a Library Studies student, but on top of this I was also free to attend sessions for free once my shift was finished which was pretty cool 🙂
I was pretty nervous beforehand because I had no idea what a professional conference involved (previously I had only been to a Science Fiction con and Supernova, a Pop Culture expo 😛 ) and I was worried that I wouldn’t be up to the task, but once I started I found the people (organisers, delegates and speakers alike) were really lovely and the work was pretty straightforward. basically my responsibilities involved greeting delegates and speakers when they came to the registration desk, giving them their name badge and a bag of goodies, directing them to rooms/toilets etc., and telling them when certain sessions start and where they’re held. I did have a couple of added tasks such as putting reserved signs on seats for speakers and ushering in an Aboriginal dance troupe that opened the days proceedings (that was a particularly fun job :))
What with the easier-than-expected jobs, lovely people to work with and the stunning venue my shift went by very quickly and then I was free to have a wonderfully fancy (free!) lunch, network with lecturers and fellow students who were in attendance and go to whatever afternoon sessions that tickled my fancy.
While at the registration desk I could hear some pretty exuberant laughter coming from the Golden Ballroom where keynote speaker, Rachel Green was speaking so I thought her afternoon session, Networking conversations guaranteed – meet, greet and speak with ease, would be a good start. It was one of the most amusing and entertaining professional development sessions I had ever been too – a rarity in an area that is often very bland and to the point. Rachel has a unique way of speaking that is very engaging and instead of just talking about networking she actually put it in practice, getting us all to get up from our seats and sit next to someone we had never met – 3 times! Because of this I got to meet individuals working in the industry who gave me insight into the world of Library Technicians and advice on my career path. I left the session feeling more confident and ready to mingle over afternoon tea with people who I didn’t know – which I went through with, chatting to a WA Library Tech as well as four from the eastern states, and Rachel Green herself!
I then wanted to go to a session called Taking the scenic route – seeking diverse experiences and undertaking further study to improve skills and fulfil aspirations, followed by one called Getting the job you want: tips and tricks. However when I went to the room that the first session was being held it was already full so I decided to hang around until it finished and the next one begun.
While waiting I got to talking with another lovely stranger from Tasmania who was enjoying the Perth weather (funnily enough the next day or two we got rain!). She was waiting for the next Rachel Green session, Mindfulness – The easy way to peace and calm in a stressful world, and when the time came I couldn’t resist skipping the tips to getting a job one and going to hers. And boy am I glad I made that decision! The mindfulness session was also amusing and entertaining but was much more relaxing than the networking one, with periods of guided meditation – the perfect end to a lovely day 🙂
I’m so glad I filled in the form to volunteer for the conference – I gained some once in a lifetime experience in a beautiful hotel, met some interesting people already in the industry, ate some amazing free food and even was given a free meditation DVD by Rachel Green. All I can say to anyone out there is this – if a similar opportunity comes up for you, don’t hesitate, you won’t regret it!
More information on the fabulous Rachel Green can be found on her website.