One of the most interesting things about going to two conferences in three weeks is that the contrasts between them become much more apparent. Take, for example, the dress codes. ACRL was definitely on the business casual side. We all looked exactly like what we were: 3200 librarians. At CIL, things were a little more casual and a little more hip all at the same time. We still looked like what we were, but there was a subtle difference.
Then there was the session envy… At ACRL, if you were sitting in a session that only you and about 10 other people decided to attend, you had a pretty good idea that everyone else at the conference knew something you didn’t and had decided to attend one of the 10 or so other sessions that would have been better. At CIL, if you attended a session that was only one third full, you knew that everyone else at the conference knew something you didn’t and had decided to attend the one REALLY hot session that period. (On the other hand, sitting in your un-full session you also had a seat and didn’t have to sit on the floor in the hall outside of the overflow room, so it wasn’t all bad.)
But no matter which conference, there are always library geeks. “Lunch 2.0,” for example, can only happen in a group of librarians. (In order to achieve Lunch 2.0, you must walk from your hotel and turn right toward many restaurants every day, lunch and dinner, until the last day. On that last day, you must turn left toward different restaurants even though “we’ve never done it that way before.”)
Looking back over these two conferences, I’ve met so many wonderful people, seen some truly cool stuff, and generally renewed my conviction that I’m in the best job ever, and I’m in it with the best companions around. It’s not without it’s frustrations (and after hearing many variations on the theme of “I could never do that at my library” I’m even more grateful for my co-workers and working environment than I was before), but it’s pretty darn amazing nonetheless.
Now, back in my “real world” of Sunday reference shifts, burgeoning to-do lists, classes, consultations, and meetings, everything seems just a little rosier than it did a few weeks ago. There’s no good reason for this. I have even more to do than I did before, and even less time in which to do it all. But at least for now, that doesn’t matter so much. I’m jealous of everyone who gets to go to Internet Librarian, but I’ll see you all at CIL next year. Just don’t have too much fun without me in Monterey, alright?