NMRT Midwinter Conference Orientation: A Summary

By Marissa Priddis

On Saturday morning of ALA's Midwinter conference in Philadelphia, new and seasoned conference attendees alike were treated to a fun, informative Conference Orientation, presented by the NMRT Orientation Committee, chaired by Catherine Gardiner.

Nanette Donohue, NMRT President, welcomed the attendees and discussed the benefits of joining NMRT, including a subscription to Footnotes, the resume review service available to members, and the opportunity to serve on committees.

Kathy Young, the chair of the Exhibits Round Table (a roundtable with both vendor and librarian members) informed the attendees that there were 500 exhibitors in Philadelphia, and how, without the financial support of vendors, conference registration would be much higher. All attendees were urged to visit the Exhibits, particularly during "no conflict" times.

Everyone in the room had a chance to stretch their legs with an icebreaker designed to help make introductions, with the instructions to "find one person who..." with a variety of fill in the blanks: born in another country, does storytelling in their job, has been published, and so forth.

After the icebreaker, Emily Love of the Resume Review Service committee gave a small introduction about the service available, both at conferences and via email.

Loriene Roy, ALA President, stopped by to discuss her President's Program at Midwinter (with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the featured speaker), incorporating wellness in the workplace, the National Oral History project, and to encourage conference-goers to attend a Council meeting to learn more about how ALA functions.

Lisa Chianese gave attendees a quick orientation to Philadelphia, with key places to see, visit and eat!

Courtney Deines-Jones provided a lengthy introduction to "conference life", including what to pack, how to maximize visits to the exhibits, meetings to attend (or not attend, as the case may be), and how to network with fellow conference-goers.

Jenifer Grady was the final speaker, representing ALA-APA (ALA- Allied Professional Association), and discussed the advocacy needed for getting better salaries for library workers. She reviewed some tools on topics such as salary negotiation, newsletters and help for managers, as well as providing contact information for ALA-APA, an organization that's only a few years old.

Overall, the conference orientation was informative, fast-paced and fun!