I was going to post yesterday but the conference was a whirlwind (I barely had time to get into the vendor hall to stock up on free pens), and then I got back to school and was on duty till 10 (after being up since 4), at which point I hung out on the couch for a while in order to get the energy up to go to bed.
In case you can't tell by the fact that this post is not about me freaking out about my presentation, my conference was yesterday. After getting up at the aforementioned 4am I drove to Hartford--very little traffic that time of the morning, for those of you looking for an easier commute. Getting set up was a bit nerve wracking, as the projector was not exactly the most intuitive system I've ever encountered, and the microphone from the next room over was somehow feeding through the speakers in my room. But I figured it out (partially by begging for help from the guy in the next room).
By the time 7:30 came there were six people in the room waiting for me to present, which is two more people than I thought would be there, so that was cool. And then as I started another person came in. And another. And then more. Eventually there were about 20-25 people there, which is WAY more than I anticipated (and if any of those people are now reading this blog: Hi! Thanks for coming!). And it went really well. People were nodding along, and smiling, and they all clapped at the end!
The response, overall, was really amazing. I had several people tell me that it was helpful and informative and that there were things that they could bring back to their schools and put to use, which was really gratifying. I love going to conferences and workshops that are inspirational or aspirational in tone, but a) I don't think I'm really at that level quite yet and b) the best workshops I've ever been to give me something based on those aspirations I can put into practice. My greatest hope in doing this was that I would be able to give the participants something--an idea, a tool, a new understanding--that they could take with them. To be told that I've done that. . . wow.
Giving back professionally is far more energizing than I anticipated it would be. It's a total high, and I'm hooked. For the rest of the day yesterday I was thinking about what else I could do--whether it be more presenting, or writing, or even developing more of an online presence to share the work I'm doing.
The rest of the conference was great, too. I'd been so anxious about my session that I'd forgotten how much I love being able to spend a day with my peers getting that inspiration (I was able to spend two sessions with Jamie McKenzie, who is amazing and gave me a lot to think about--much of which I may write about later), as well as generating ideas that I can bring back and put into use. Given that I don't work with another librarian, it's nice to be able to spend time with other people who know what it's like to do what I do. Also, free pens!
We were supposed to give our name badges back at the end of the day, but I kept mine. If anyone from CASL/CECA is reading this, I'm sorry, but this is my first ever presenter badge and I couldn't help it. I promise I will give back all of my badges for any future conferences I present at. Unless they're really cool.