You might not agree, but I’ve stood for eight hours in those shoes while trying to lure doctors into signing up for free online CME. Trust me, you add some Dr. Scholl’s gel pads and you are golden.

Thus shod, I was up at the incredibly unholy hour of five a.m. to make the trek up to the Twin Cities for a day at the Public Library Association Conference. My only fortunate discovery before nine a.m. was that my local Starbucks drive-thru opens at 5:30 a.m. I’m not sure if I’ll ever need that piece of information again but in the event that I do–I’d better be coming home rather than leaving it.

Madame Director sent as many of us as possible up to conference, at least for a day, and my day was Friday. Upon arriving I was duly laden with a bag containing two books I’ve already given away and a conference schedule I never consulted–and then it was off to the exhibits. There I walked in (as did my teen librarian) nearly twenty minutes before they opened. Apparently if one is dressed in slacks, sweater and a smidge of make up—one can pass for a vendor.

I spent just over two and a half hours blissfully trudging the exhibits. Up and down I strolled, choosing when to make eye contact, asking the occasional awkward question, and shutting down all attempts to get me to “sit through a presentation for a free t-shirt.” Free books that interest me or would be good to add to my collection are one thing; free t-shirts are extra weight that I can’t give away.

I spent a very amusing twenty minutes with the guys from Unshelved. They were having some slowness with the credit card machine. But they signed the books I bought and were good company. My shoulders already needed the rest by that point. I stopped by LibraryThing and we debated what type of battery the Rhinos would need to roar. (Hopefully they’ll have them by CiL) I also got to meet Nicole! I caught up with her just after second session started so it was quiet enough to chat without her having to rush off to someone who wasn’t familiar with Koha and LibLime.

Lunch was at Brit’s Pub (at David’s recommendation) and over the a cheeseburger and iced tea, I got to meet two girls from NexGenLib! It was amazing how three women who’d never “really” met before could sit down and comfortably chat about various subjects in libraries across the country (PA, WI, and CO). We had a lot of common ground and a wide variety of challenges. It was an incredibly unifying moment.

The afternoon was session. First was an eye-opening hour from MediaWise. Hearing of the things that are already and are yet to come and really thinking about how much screen time is influencing both the current and future generations makes the mind boggle. Had we had a couple of hours of presentation, I would have gladly sat through it–an hour was just too short. I recommend the site and if the presenter does get his slides online, I will definitely link to them.

The second session was people speed reading from powerpoint presentations and being self-congratulatory. As I’m capable of reading for myself, I chose not to stay.

The drive home was trading tales of just how much we packed into our bags. I had managed to get 10 free Playaways for my children’s department, about which I was very chuffed. All in all it was a fun conference day and I expect many new emails and piles of flyers to land on my desk now that the vendors have all made it home.