On November 7-10 I attended the LITA Forum in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is just under two hours away from Bloomington and I was lucky to be able to carpool with my conference buddy Annie. Overall, LITA had a very welcoming atmosphere. The conference was only a few hundred people, so it felt very much like LOEX. Very accessible. Lots of wonderful, friendly people, plenty of whom I’ve “known” on Twitter for a while. It was nice to make the in-person connection.

I contributed to a presentation spearheaded by my boss, Stacy Konkiel, and our colleague Eric Snajdr. I shared my perspective on data management projects here at IU. It never fails to amaze me the effect that adrenaline can have. I felt completely calm–and actually quite eager–to present, but initially I was scrambling to remember my name and job title as the adrenaline threatened to wipe out all thoughts from my mind! I tell myself that every experience is a learning experience; I try not to be too hard on myself. (Especially these days as I apply for jobs, which feels incredibly vulnerable. So many ups and downs. But more on that later.)

I have only small criticisms of the conference. The food was the sparsest of any conference I’ve ever been to. Lunch was okay, but breakfast was unimpressive and what was billed as “refreshments” in the conference program turned out to be a table of soda–no water, coffee, or snacks. This was particularly eyebrow-raising for me because LITA had the most expensive registration of any conference I have ever attended. There isn’t a student registration rate, though if you submit an application to volunteer you get a reduced rate of $300. This is at least double any other conference I’ve attended at a student rate without volunteering. Granted, there wasn’t much expected of the volunteers: be available to help, sign up to moderate sessions. I have no complaints there. I really do just wish that there had been snacks available and fruit at breakfast.

I went to various meetups, including a LibTechWomen meetup at Down One Bourbon Bar in their secret telephone booth speakeasy room (best food I’ve had in a long time!) and a gathering at Hillbilly Tea followed by a hotel bar meetup with the ACRLTechConnect writers. Everyone was incredibly nice.

I drank my fair share of bourbon over the course of the weekend. I had an old-fashioned, a sidecar, and an assortment of bourbon cocktails. On our last night, Annie and I went out to explore Louisville and ended up finding the historic Brown Hotel. We got our sole passport stamp there! The weekend also involved posing with/as a number of famous Kentuckians; see below for proof.

One last thing–check out this post for an analysis of the tweets from LITA. I’m on there!

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