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SLA 2009: Overall impressions

My badge ribbons

My badge ribbons

I’m back in the UK now – got into Heathrow early this morning. I am absolutely shattered (especially considering that a combination of lots of turbulence and screaming children meant that I got no sleep at all on the plane), but exhilarated. I’ve had an incredible time at SLA, and am full of ideas!

As I failed to get much blogging done while I was there, I’ll be posting my thoughts on the sessions I attended over the next day or so. I think it’s probably better that way: reading over my last two posts has made me realise why I shouldn’t rush these things! I think I need a little time to synthesise the information gathered before I can write up. I’m really not happy with how my last two posts turned out at all – I’d delete them, but there’s not much point deleting things that have been published on the web! It’s a learning curve I suppose, and they will at least be a reminder to me of why I shouldn’t try to write coherently unless I have time. I’m thinking maybe a quick paragraph per day, just jotting down some thoughts, might have been a better way to do it. Will remember that for next time.

Before I start blogging my sessions, I’m going to just jot down some initial impressions of the conference as a whole. Probably good to do while it’s still fresh in my mind!

Thoughts on the conference:

  • Exhilarating, inspiring, exhausting!
  • Far bigger scale than anything I’ve been to in the UK (understandably), occasionally a little daunting
  • Networking got easier as the conference went on: I was very nervous about introducing myself to people at the start, but got over that by the end!
  • Good mix of speakers and topics – something for every interest
  • Several good sessions on speaking, presenting, etc: very useful for me, that’s a real weak point of mine
  • Great to talk to US and Canada-based LIS students, as well as established professionals
  • I liked having the badge ribbons – the First Timers ribbon was a great ice breaker, and it was good to look out for other SLA Europe members
  • Will definitely attend future sessions, if I can possibly arrange it!

Thoughts on SLA Europe

  • Deserves to have a higher profile. Most of the Americans I spoke to didn’t know there was a European chapter, and most of my colleagues at home don’t know about SLA at all.
  • The SLA Europe board were so welcoming, friendly and helpful – they made this such a wonderful experience for us. Very well organised – thanks guys!
  • My mentor, Neil, really put a lot of effort into helping me make the most out of my time at the conference. I really appreciated his advice before and during the conference, it made the whole experience much smoother
  • Would be interesting to think of ways to raise the profile of SLA Europe on the continent – most of us were British
  • European Information Professional Award – something for us to aim for in future years!

Thoughts on the Leadership and Management Division

  • Ran some fantastic sessions. I got lots of really practical ideas to take back
  • All the division members I met had really interesting ideas and experiences to share, and seemed really committed to the profession and the organisation
  • It would have been nice to get more involved with the divisions events: e.g. the two ECCA winners who were co-sponsored by the Business and Finance Division were asked to proctor one of their courses at the start of the conference. Seemed like a really good way to get introduced to the division right at the start
  • My mentor, Sylvia, was fantastic – I really appreciated her bringing me to the Fellows meeting, and introducing me to people
  • I would recommend joining LMD even if you’re not a current leader or manager (I’m not!) – it’s for anyone who has interests or aspirations in that area.

Thoughts on Washington DC

  • It has to be the cleanest city I’ve ever seen! I said that to a taxi driver, he insisted that all capital cities are that clean. I suggested he try visiting London!
  • No one smokes
  • No one litters – I saw kids going out of their way to find a bin rather than drop litter on the floor
  • Everything is enormous – the roads, the food, the monuments…
  • The Metro is just a cleaner version of the Tube, but with bigger trains and wider platforms. Same rules apply – stand on the right of the escalator and walk on the right, don’t stop at the bottom, stand to the side if you need to figure out where you’re going. People do make eye contact though!
  • Again about the Metro – there are bins! In the stations! Underground! I suppose that shouldn’t have surprised me – they don’t have the same history of attacks as we do – but given how paranoid the Americans are about terrorism I am surprised that hasn’t been considered.

So those are my rambling, jet-lagged and sleep-deprived initial conclusions. I will start blogging my sessions tomorrow, hopefully will be better rested and more coherent by then!

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5 comments on “SLA 2009: Overall impressions

  1. […] For the initial views of a first timer to the event I suggest you look at woodsiegirl’s blog post. […]

  2. I am so glad that you had a good experience at SLA 2009! See you next year in New Orleans!

  3. I had a great time at SLA this year as well. Will you be attending Online this year in London? I’m intending to try to make it over this year for the CIG gala party. I’ve gone a few times as I have friends in the business in London (including Neil), and I need to get back over for a visit.

  4. […] make it as well as twitter posts (tagged as #sla2009) and one of the SLA Europe early career winner Laura Woods has blogged about it  from a first timer perspective (I’m a old hand on my second conference) but here’s my […]

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