NMRT #3034: The View from Behind the Booth

By Olivia Nellums

All of the NMRT events I had hoped to attend at ALA Chicago unfortunately conflicted with other commitments, with one exception: NMRT Exhibition Booth #3034. I was able to volunteer at this booth at McCormick Place on Monday morning, and the experience turned out to be as valuable as some of the sessions I attended.

Staffing the booth, I was suddenly allowed a moment to stop running around. Instead, I was able to chat with ALA staff, including some Chicago locals, and I found myself in a position to provide assistance rather than it myself. Also, I got a glimpse of the conference from the perspective of the group organizing it.

We are very lucky to have professionals working at ALA. In fact, they embody two important aspects of librarianship: a commitment to service and a willingness to assist people regardless of how small the request is. ALA staff members demonstrated these aspects in several instances: when I experienced a no-brainer about the CTA bus system; when I asked about the lattes at the ProQuest booth; and when I asked about posters. At the end of my shift I felt elated about service, which is easy to talk about at a conference but difficult to truly capture.