Episode 117. In which I attend a professional conference and get some stuff.

Today I went to the 2010 conference of the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians.  I decided that although I’m redundant I should make an effort to keep my hand in, a lot of people are in my position right now and attending this kind of thing is bound to count for something, dedication to the field or something. In any case a friend and former colleague was giving a presentation so I decided to go along as a day delegate (the conference lasts three days in total) on the day she was speaking, for moral support.

It was very interesting. When I first arrived I bumped into another friend I didn’t know was going, which was lovely, and then I set about the stalls. All the major legal publishers and information  providers, and several minor ones, set up stalls at the BIALL conference, because it’s a great opportunity for advertising to the people who are in charge of budgets set up specifically to be spent on these products.  Because they’re so keen to stick in the mind almost everyone gives out freebies to the delegates who visit their stalls.  Of course, I accidentally ended up with quite a haul.  There are also competitions at most desks to win prizes. You stick your business card in the bowl on the table, or take a raffle ticket, or answer a question, and on the last day of the conference there are prize draws left right and centre.

Assuming my lovely Moo cards are pulled out of every draw I will be the lucky recipient of two iPads, an e-reader, an iPod nano, several luxury hampers, a few bottles of champagne and something as yet unidentified that was displayed in a Tiffany’s bag.

What I was given, what I don’t need Lady Luck to shine on me for, is three mugs, a water glass, an umbrella, several pens, two notepads, a set of highlighters, a USB memory stick, a hardback booklet of post-it notes and neon page-markers, a keyring with a shopping trolley token branded for the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting, a football shaped stress ball, some little football shaped chocolates, a keyring torch and one of those mad credit card things full of tools.

Apart from the freebies it was actually a very good day. There was a session from Integreon, an organisation which is quite controversial amongst law librarians at the moment as they are encouraging firms to outsource their information and knowledge departments. I was particularly interested in this session because although of course I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through as regards losing their job and fearing their chosen career just doesn’t want them any more, Integreon are expanding at an exponential rate at the moment and are a potential employer for me, which makes them very attractive.  It was an interesting session, I’m not sure they will have set the minds of the nation’s law librarians at ease, but my perspective is somewhat different. I listened to their business plan and their plans for their knowledge and information departments, and I would genuinely like to work for an organisation with the plans that they outlined.

A lot of allusions were made to the current financial climate and how it’s hit law librarians, but the vast majority of comments were about having seen friends and colleagues affected. There was not the slightest suggestion of superiority about the fact that almost everybody at the conference was there on behalf of their employers but I did feel a bit out in the cold from time to time.  Just being reminded that I was basically alone in being there without employer sponsorship, without a job to go to, going there without the grace of God, or whatever.

In the next session a library manager gave a seminar on boilerplate clauses to be used in negotiating contracts and contract renewals, and I think her suggestions will be applied by everyone who attended. She spoke so much common sense and yet when you’re negotiating with a massive global corporation who provide you with a service you need to carry out your own business, it won’t necessarily cross your mind to make *them* agree to things over and above the basics. And you can’t rely on their idea of the basics covering *your* back.

After that was lunch which was provided by the conference organisers. Brown paper bags with a sandwich, an apple, a packet of crisps, a yoghurt, a bottle of water, it was very, very pleasant actually. More about that later.

In the afternoon I attended a couple more sessions, one about Knowledge Management Refocused, which was quite interesting but I didn’t quite agree with some of the speaker’s angles, which is no doubt my loss, but there we go. The final session was by my friend and a colleague of hers, on a wiki that their firm has set up to make knowledge available within the firm in as straight forward and interactive a way as possible.

All in all it was a good day. Tomorrow’s sessions look really interesting too, but I’m sure you’ll understand I’m on a budget here, one day at the conference was already my biggest expenditure of the year. Of course, the prize draws are tomorrow (Saturday) so although I’ll be at the pub by the time the draws take place, having my pre-birthday lunch of the best sausage and black pudding baguette and chips I have EVER had (Caroline of Brunswick, Ditchling Road) I’m going to be optimistic. I don’t need any of those prizes, of course I don’t. I can live without them, I’ve done alright so far. But if I won something, it would be lovely, it would be a lucky break that I think would keep me going for a little while, so I’m going to keep my fingers crossed, just in case.

In other news, my fella’s gone camping for the weekend. I knew this was happening of course, but it’s only just sunk in this evening, that I’m alone for the next 72 hours, and I am not really liking it. OK, I have the run of the house, I have the TV remote, I can watch whatever I want and I can go to bed and get up when I want without being sleeptalked at or woken up by the kettle. But I like him being here, and I’m already missing him at the thought of putting the chain on the door even though he’s not home yet.

I’m sure the time will fly by, I’m going to have a lovely lunch tomorrow with some lovely people and Sunday is always a nice quiet day.

It’ll be even nicer if I win an iPad. 😉

Diabetic moment of the day

At the conference I’d been given a little ticket saying I had special dietary needs, which I’d mentioned on my application, and I was to give the ticket to the people handing out the lunches. The little ticket didn’t say what my dietary requirement was, so I couldn’t be sure what exactly it was going to achieve, but I handed it over and was told to wait for the special lunches to be brought out.  I waited a few minutes then just handed back the energy bar that was originally in the bag (woah sugar-momma) and took the rest to sit with my friends. ‘Special Dietary Requirements’ apparently applied to vegetarians as well as diabetics and presumably the lactose intolerant and those with a peanut allergy, but without specifying the requirement on the ticket, I fail to see how the special lunches would be anything other than a paper bag full of cardboard and cleanroom air.  I’m sorry if anyone was stuck with a rubbish diabetic lunch cos I stole the ‘normal person’ lunch. I hope they got my energy bar, at least.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: