People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Quick Guide to Attending Library Conferences on the Cheap

Another year means another round of library conferences that offer opportunities for professional development and networking. Unfortunately, with increasing budget cuts and staff shortages, conference attendance support from your organization may be minimal or non-existent. Similar situation if you’re not working.

Image of piggy bank on book stack. Quick Guide to Attending Library Conferences on the Cheap

Here are some tips & tricks that I’ve picked up along the way (attended over 10 library conferences in the past five years) on attending library conferences on the cheap:

  1. Register at the student rate until you can’t anymore. 
  2. Apply for travel scholarships, grants and continuing education awards. Most library associations offer them for LIS students, recent graduates, new librarians, etc. Here’s a list from LISjobs to get you started. Also, look into your local and student chapters for scholarship opportunities.
  3. Apply for diversity, professional development and leadership programs. Extra program bonus is complimentary conference registration or conference sponsorship opportunities. Look into ALA Spectrum, ALA Emerging Leaders, ARL Diversity Scholars, and SLA Rising Stars.
  4. Submit proposals to present at conferences. Not only is it a great way to gain public speaking experience and share your knowledge, the registration fee may be reduced or waived for speakers. Also, your organization may be more likely to support your conference attendance if you’re presenting.
  5. Attend on work time. If your organization can’t provide funding support, ask if you can attend on work time.
  6. Crash at family/friends’ place or find hotel roommates. Also, consider staying at a cheaper hotel that is a little farther away from the conference but easily & quickly accessible via conference shuttle or public transportation.
  7. Be on the look-out for free conference exhibit passes. It will, at least, get you into the exhibits.
  8. Buy snacks at a local supermarket/store. You’ll want snacks to munch on when you get hungry and conference/convention center food tends to be blah-tasting and expensive.
  9. Be on the look-out for events and receptions with free food. Not only do you get food, they’re great networking opportunities. Also, some conferences such as SLA offer a free meal voucher.
  10. Crash. I have yet to try this one.

What are your tips and tricks on attending library conferences on the cheap?

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2 responses to “Quick Guide to Attending Library Conferences on the Cheap

  1. Pingback: What Are Your 2016 Career Goals? | People Interact

  2. Pingback: New Year’s Resolution: What’s Your Career Strategy? « People Interact

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