Time for a conference update - library and information conferences are returning to various cities, or being presented as a hybrid of online/physical. Dates are all over the place but there remains an overwhelming choice of conference. Choice in every why, when, what, how, who - anything is now possible!
COVID-19 and the evolution of conferences
There have been interesting debates about COVID-19 being a Black Swan or a Grey Rhino event but either way, highly probable or not, it has transformed everything. People have worked remotely, received online schooling, and have kept in touch with their friends via Zoom. But conferences have evolved in unexpected ways.
Bitesize, mix-and-match, on-demand/recorded, full on month-long events. Themes remain as exciting as ever, especially if you have multiple interests. Innovation, AI, legal, tech, taxonomies, big data, business development, marketing, knowledge management, library and information - or any combination of those.
How do you know which conferences to attend?
Which will benefit you and your organisation the most? Team Vable has put together a list of conferences for 2021-22 to get you thinking. For those who might find these events stressful, we have put together some tried and tested handy tips to keep you grounded. We want everyone to have a positive learning experience!
Catch these quickly before they finish! It's never too late to catch up with some personal and professional development.
- Special Libraries Association - for the whole of August, you can create your own conference programme from an amazing choice of sessions. The SLA Annual Conference is the premier event for special librarians and information professionals who want to explore the latest challenges and trends in information, knowledge, and library management, refine their skills, connect with colleagues, and meet with leading product and service providers. Online.
- International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)- World Library and Information Congress, 17-19 August. IFLA WLIC is the leading international conference focused on our profession's commitment to high quality library and information services and access to information. This first IFLA virtual congress is supported by the Dutch National Committee. Online.
- International Legal Technology Association Conference (ILTA), 22-26 August. ILTA is the main legal technology conference for professionals undertaking initiatives in support of the practice of law. Las Vegas and Online.
September - October 2021
New term, new ideas - join library and information people all over the world in a community of learning.
- Australian Law Librarian Association (ALLA), 23-24 September. A biennial event hosted by the Australian Law Librarians’ Association (ALLA), the Conference is the major professional and business development event in the Association’s 2021 calendar. Online.
- Internet Librarian International, 22 September. Join us for a HALF DAY VIRTUAL ILI session to keep our knowledge sharing and discussions going until we can meet easily again in person. Online.
- Legal Geek, 5-6 October. We are bringing together law firm leaders, general counsel, investors, scale-ups, policymakers, startups and innovation-fanatics for two days of inspiration and knowledge-sharing. The event is about bringing the community back together. London and Online.
- International Association of Law Libraries, 9-12 October. France.
- British Legal Technology Forum 2021, 12 October. As Europe’s largest legal technology conference and exhibition, this event will once again bring together the most respected professionals from both the legal and commercial technology sectors to examine and explore the systems, strategies, processes and platforms that will drive law firms and legal businesses into the next decade and beyond. London.
- LMA, 22-24 October. The largest global event focused exclusively on the legal marketing and business development profession. For the past 36 years, this event brings together CMOs to entry-level specialists from firms of all sizes to advance thought leadership in the field and make valuable connections with solution providers, consultants and fellow legal marketers. Florida.
November - December 2021
Keep the ideas circulating to keep the year interesting!
- KM World, 15-18 November - get practical advice, hear inspiring thought leadership, and attend in-depth training and workshops on how KM and related disciplines can provide enormous value for your organisation and transform your business. Washington, DC.
- Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Conference (CILIP), 30 November. We are looking to the future, making plans and want to create those moments that have been so impossible to achieve during the last couple of years. That's why we are going ahead with plans for CILIP's Library and Information Supplier Showcase - taking place in person. London.
- Digital Transformation of Grey Literature: Exploring Next Generation Grey, December 6-7, 2021. Grey literature is once again at a crossroads in its known 80 years in the vernacular. It appears that every quarter or more century this field of information faces a change in direction. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Add this to your calendar and never miss anything ever again!
Some tips for avoiding anxiety at conferences
Conferences, seminars, and events offer attendees valuable opportunities for networking but they can also be anxiety inducing. If it’s any consolation for potential first-timers, it can be just as nerve-wracking for those going for the umteenth time.
We may be experiencing post-pandemic social anxiety too which isn't going to help! Here are some proven practical tips to reassure:
- Buddy up! Many conferences now offer a scheme to match up people to make it less daunting for the new-comer. Do it, and see if it works for you!
- Identify yourself! Wear your badge so that your name and organisation is visible. It might be that someone has seen you on the attendee list and wants to meet you! There are all sorts of badges and lanyards to help you find your way.
- Embrace social media! Find the relevant hashtag and join in the conversation. At BIALL a few years ago, I spent a lovely Wednesday evening with 2 people who I met via Twitter. They had never been to BIALL, and were relative new-comers to legal librarianship so it was great to make that connection.
- Be the early-bird! Avoid those ‘daunting’ groups of people by arriving at the workshop/seminar/keynote early. Be the one that people ask to join, and then open a conversation with them.
- Take time out! Programmes are designed to fill every minute of the day but recognise that it is ok to have a break. Many venues are aware of this and provide a safe, quiet space so whether this is 20 mins of quiet time, an hour in the hotel pool, or having a cup of tea with a new friend… do what feels right for you.
- Look after your health! With tiny hotel coffee cups and limited access to water, it is easy to get dehydrated. Take a refillable bottle and drink plenty of decaffeinated liquids throughout the day. Many exhibitors offer branded water bottles - so go chat to the vendors!
- It takes two! Remember that other people might be just as nervous as you, so strike up a conversation with the person next to you - at lunch, in a queue outside - get chatting.
We all have our coping mechanisms and if you feel comfortable doing so, please share your hints and tips with us. Tell us which conference you’re looking forward to - and whether you've enjoyed the world of virtual conferences? (I have!)