Less than a week until conference begins! Are you ready?
Whether you're a first timer or well-seasoned attendee, here are some conference-specific packing ideas as you prepare next week:
Moving from session to session can mean moving between fluctuating thermostats, plus you know, October in Ohio. If you'd like to cover bases no matter what temperature the environment might be, plan to bring and wear layers. Jean jackets and comfortable cardigans--*with pockets*--are almost always my layers of choice.
Whatever shoes you find most comfortable for walking and being on your feet, pack 'em. Leave any brand-new shoes at home for breaking in another time. I'd bring two pairs and give yourself flexibility if you need to switch for whatever reason--I'm bringing my fave Chelsea boots and slip-on Toms since I live in them already.
- Laptop / Macbook / Chromebook
Phones are obviously convenient, but nothing beats the larger screen for viewing session presentations and shared docs, checking email in between sessions, and maybe even already incorporating fresh new ideas and resources into upcoming plans and activities back home, if you're a multitasker.
- Chargers (Phone & Laptop / Macbook / Chromebook)
Don't forget to pack your phone and laptop chargers (and freshly charge the computer before you go!). You also might want to bring a fully charged power bank, too, if your phone battery tends to drain more quickly away from home. Remember to put your laptop charger into your daily conference bag, in case you need to charge on the fly when you're mid-sessions.
If you're still a bit old school like me, notebook and pens are a must--somewhere to quickly jot down names and contact info for the people you meet, new tools from sessions and keynotes, reading recommendations from us library folk, and general reminders to self as you pick up useful tips and tricks in quick conversations here and there. If you don't have anything you love yet, I'll share that Moleskin journals, Happy Planner notebooks (for when I want to move pages around easily), and colorful Papermate Flair pens are my go-tos for professional meetings. Bring extra pens!
- Snacks, mints, and hand sanitizer
Bring some quick and easy snacks to put in your conference bag--granola or protein bars, dried fruit, a little dark chocolate--anything that will tide you over until the next meal and give you the energy boost you need between sessions. Mints (or gum) and hand sanitizer can probably sell themselves, right?
You're going to be busy--stay hydrated! Bring that water bottle and keep up the H2O intake as you network and take in all the good info from our session presenters.
- Roomy satchel or tote bag
Tuck in a bag just for conference stuff: something to hold that laptop, notebook, pens, snacks, and any other small items you might be picking up from vendors and networking. Comfortable to carry and dedicated solely to conference life would be my advice.
- Business card / QR codes with contact information
As you network and meet people, a quick card with your contact information is easy to pass along after a great conversation. We're so often islands in our roles, but connecting to other islands is part of what makes this conference so valuable. Plan to keep up those connections after conference!
- Printed copy of the conference schedule
Absolutely your preference on this one, but I always print and mark up a copy the day before arriving to plan ahead. Use it as a guide and tweak as needed using the electronic version, and it's a nice fail-safe if your internet connection struggles right when you need to remember where you're heading next.
May your packing go well and I cannot wait to see you all at conference!
Four more days!