Tips for Attendees

Especially First-Timers!

The following tips were compiled by The Seattle Public Library.

Registration

  • Remember to carry your government-issued ID to the convention center to get your badge and program booklet.
  • You need your badge to enter the exhibits hall and other conference events.

Your Bag or Backpack

  • While you are in the convention center, it is a good idea to have a backpack or a strong tote bag. The following items are a must for any convention attendee:

    • Water bottle
    • Small umbrella
    • Cell phone
    • Tablet or iPad or small notebook
    • Business cards
    • Snack
    • ID, credit card, some cash, and conference badge
    • YALSA Recommendation: Leave your handbag at home. If you are using a backpack or tote, your handbag will be extra weight

Technology

  • Get your technology in order (how to use the Wi-Fi environment, hashtags, collecting resources that are provided online, etc.) prior to actually being in the audience.
  • Make sure your phone, tablet and other technology are fully charged and bring a backup power source if you have one.
  • Remember: The conference app is the most reliable source of information.

Safety

  • Be sure to remove your badge as you move about in the city and out of the convention areas.
  • Once you get to your hotel, get a hotel business card and put it in your wallet. Who knows when your late night fun might find you without shuttle service and you need a taxi home.

Programs

  • Study the conference program that is organized by “tracks” and choose a couple of topics that are not in your desired career track and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you may learn.
  • Be selective. Pick a couple of things you want to learn about, and take the time to identify and make plans to get to sessions that will help you do that—if you try to taste everything, you’ll spend all of your time milling around, being frustrated.
  • Use conference as a chance to push your horizons and try new things, go to at least one program that is about something you don’t know anything about. You may be surprised by what you discover.
  • Connect ahead of time with your colleagues who are also attending, and coordinate workshop attendance. You won’t be able to go to everything you want, but this way you can increase your eyes and ears.
  • Pick two seminars that touch on areas that are of interest but are not necessarily reflective of work you are currently doing to expose you to other areas of the work.
  • Have at least two sessions in mind for every time slot. That way, if you go to one session and the room is overflowing or the topic isn’t what you thought it would be, you can spend your time productively by heading to your second choice.

General Tips

  • Keep a running list of ideas you can bring back and share with staff—it can be very energizing to come back to your unit with a new idea to try right away, however small.
  • Write your report while you are at the conference… don’t wait until you get back because you’ll forget things and you won’t have nearly as much time as you think you’ll have.

Exhibits

  • Go to the exhibits and look at some of the products you own. Ask vendors for tips and tricks using it. They know a lot more about their product than you do.
  • Go to the exhibits and look at new stuff that you do not have. If it’s a great product, come back and tell colleagues about it.
  • Pre-book in some socializing time (invite people you just met to do the exhibits with you) and don’t try to see the exhibits in one fell swoop.
  • If you collect a lot of stuff from vendors, mail them from the conference shipping center (location TBD) so you don’t have to carry them around. And do it before the end so you can avoid the lines. (You may also be able to mail them from your hotel, but the caution about waiting until the last minute still applies.)

Networking

  • Collect contacts. Don’t be shy to ask for business cards (and take a lot of your cards and have them ready to hand out) because those people have the potential to become your very close friends and supporters as you tackle assignments at home.
  • Don’t be afraid to go up to people you don’t know and strike up a conversation. 99% of the time people are friendly and interested in meeting others. It can be intimidating to do this but you’ll probably learn something you didn’t expect to.
  • Do your research before you go. If you work in a specific area or want to work in a specific area, find out what systems or individuals are doing good work in the area then be on the lookout for those systems or individuals at presentations or as you make your way around the conference.

Comfort

  • Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers. You’ll be doing a lot of walking—across a very large exhibit hall, from convention center to hotel and back again and again, as well as all over the host city. Convention centers and hotels are notorious for hot and cold spots so layers are essential.
  • Carry a water bottle. You can’t always count on an even distribution off amenities across the conference site.

Enjoy the City

  • Get out and be a tourist; a conference site was chosen just as much for the facilities as it was for the host city and its amenities.
  • Have fun!
  • Plan a little time to explore the city and its libraries.
  • Plan to meet up with colleagues and friends outside of conference to hang out and relax from a full day of programs and exhibits.
  • Go on all the tours (especially if they are free).

Make It Extraordinary!

Want to make this your best conference ever? Join us for our new event, Make It Extraordinary! Guest speaker Kari Chapin will inspire and motivate you with her tangible tips to maximize your experience at PLA 2016. Bring your “Make It Extraordinary” notebook (provided at registration) and join us to learn how to optimize your time at PLA 2016, adapt ideas you’ll learn at conference to fit your circumstances, and unleash your creativity and imagination. More »

Bonus Tips from Past Attendees

“Smile, say hello and sit next to people you don’t know in programs, luncheons, and author events. I made some of my best library friends from all over the country doing this. In fact, I still keep in touch and ask them for advice.”

– Sara Dallas, director of the Southern Adirondack Library System in N.Y.,
and member of the PLA 2016 Conference Program Subcommittee

“Take time to explore the city—visit one of our museums, take in some music, catch a play, or take a quick trip to the mountains.”

– Pam Sandlian Smith, director at Anythink Libraries in Thornton, Colo.,
and chair of the PLA 2016 Conference Program Subcommittee

For questions about…

Cancellation Policy

Written cancellations, requests for refunds, and/or changes will be accepted until February 26, 2016, and are subject to a $30 handling fee. Refunds will be processed after April 25, 2016. According to PLA policy, all meal events require preregistration. The above cancellation/change information also applies to all preconferences, meal events, and tours.

The PLA 2016 Conference is offered on a cost-recovery basis. PLA reserves the right to cancel all or any part of this event if there is insufficient registration or for other reasons. Neither ALA nor PLA is responsible for cancellation charges assessed by the airlines or travel agencies, or other losses incurred due to the cancellation of the workshops. All information listed on this website is subject to change.


Accessibility

PLA has put in place features to ensure the conference is accessible to all.

Advertising

Special print and electronic advertising opportunities are available to reach PLA members and attendees both before and during the conference.

Appropriate Conduct

All participants are expected to observe the rules and behaviors described in the Statement of Appropriate Conduct in all conference venues, including online venues, and conference social events.

Attire

There is no formal dress code at the PLA Conference. What’s most important is to dress for comfort.

Conference Logo

The custom logos of the PLA 2016 Conference are the property of PLA. Anyone wishing to use the logos in their communications and promotional materials must: 1) Seek permission from PLA; and 2) Submit communication/artwork incorporating the logo to PLA for final approval. The logo may not be modified and must be reproduced in its entirety (i.e., no outlines, cropping). To request the use of the logo, companies should contact Carly DiVito at Corcoran Expositions at 312-541-0567 or carly@corcexpo.com; all others should contact PLA at 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or pla@ala.org.

Exhibits

Contact Carly DiVito, Corcoran Expositions, 312-541-0567 or carly@corcexpo.com.

Firearms

No carrying of firearms allowed in the Colorado Convention Center unless you’re on-duty law enforcement or off-duty and on payroll of the show or SMG (convention center management).

Hashtag

The official conference hashtag is #PLA2016.

Media

Contact Heather Cho, ALA Media Relations Specialist, 312-280-4020 or hcho@ala.org. Please review our conference media policy.

Membership

ALA and PLA membership is managed by the ALA Membership & Customer Service (MACS) unit. To join, renew, rejoin, or add to your membership, fill out a secure form online; or print and fill out a membership form and fax or mail it in; or call 800-545-2433 and press 5. Direct your membership questions to MACS at customerservice@ala.org or 800-545-2433 and press 5. MACS representatives are available Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM Central.

Mobile App

Attendees can access full event schedule, evaluate sessions, customize their own agenda, and compete in the Extraordinary Exhibits photo challenge game on the PLA 2016 mobile app. To request assistance with the mobile app, please e-mail pla2016app@ala.org.

PLA Office

The PLA Office is located in A Mezzanine in the Colorado Convention Center. You can access the A Mezzanine from any of the lobbies using Elevator A, across from registration, and press the MZ button to get to the Mezzanine. You can also access A Mezzanine from Exhibit Hall A using Stairwell 30. The office phone numbers are 303-228-8450 and 303-228-8451. Onsite office hours are Monday, April 4–Friday, April 8, 8:00 AM–5:00 PM; Saturday, April 9, 8:00 AM–1:00 PM.

Registration & Housing

Onsite registration hours are Tuesday, April 5, 7:30 AM–5:00 PM; Wednesday, April 6, 7:30 AM–6:30 PM; Thursday, April 7, 7:30 AM–5:30 PM; Friday, April 8, 7:30 AM–4:00 PM; and Saturday, April 9, 8:00–10:00 AM. Conference registration and housing is managed by Experient. Call or e-mail your questions, 800-424-5249 (U.S. and Canada), 847-996-5829 (all other countries), or pla@experient-inc.com. Experient representatives are available Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM Eastern. PLA Conference is a professional event. It is not open to the public.

Sponsorships

Contact Corcoran Expositions, Mary Michalik at 312-265-9650, mary@corcexpo.com; or Matt McLaughlin at 312-265-9655, matt@corcexpo.com.

Thank you PLA Conference Sponsors!

Venues

Most conference events—including all preconferences and concurrent program sessions—will take place in the Colorado Convention Center (CCC), 700 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202. Additional events will be held at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, 650 15th Street, Denver, CO 80202, and other venues as indicated.

Other Questions

Contact PLA, 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or pla@ala.org; or find someone to help in the PLA Staff directory.