Head juggling: preparing for a conference

In a week’s time the Conversation with Cataloguers Event that I’ve organised will be taking place.  I’ve been thinking about organising such an event for a long time now, and been actively planning it since the end of the summer last year.  Although I feel quite calm at the moment about it, I believe that I am in a temporary calm, and that panic will start to set in very soon.

Its a small enough event that I’ve managed to organise predominantly on my own; there have been some useful suggestions along the way, and some useful plugging on email lists that I’m not on, by helpful people.  I know my colleagues will be happy to help on the day, and I doubt I will be left to clear up on my own.

The process hasn’t been entirely new to me, but there are always things that slip your mind, or don’t go quite according to plan.  When I was a postgraduate student (many moons ago now), studying ancient history I ended up being the co-organiser of a conference on Rape in Antiquity; on that occasion one of our speakers (from overseas) was unable to come at the last minute, and I ended up having to read out their presentation, and co-ordinate it with two slide-projectors! – Yes we are talking the dark ages, pre-powerpoint, when an OHP was the height of sophistication 😉  What made this experience worse was the subject matter – something along the lines of eroticism on Greek vases – I think I became a blushing prude along the way – and then people started asking me questions at the end! (Not my paper, people!).  On that occasion I was also so hyper about the whole event (it felt a bit like stepping on a roller coaster first thing in the morning, and there was nothing I could do about it once it had started), that I managed not to realise that I had actually met one of our speakers at a previous event (hadn’t connected name/face), and consequently may have come across a bit ignorant when greeting him.

Anyway, that conference seemed to be pretty successful and we managed to publish the proceedings as well, with myself and the other organiser as co-editors.  Next week I am not aiming for publication, I hope I won’t commit any speaker faux pas, and I won’t have to worry about the OHP or a double slide projector extravaganza.  Saying that, technology does always have a tendency of breaking down at inopportune moments, so fingers crossed we don’t have any major computer failures!

Bookings have been good, refreshments have been arranged – with help from CyMAL and the CILIP Kathleen Cooks Fund, and it looks to be an interesting day. I’ve more or less finished off my own presentation (well, my half of a joint presentation – we still need to glue the bits together!), and just have a few admin tasks left – creating the programme handout, name badges, etc – which I won’t be leaving til the night before, I promise.

I am hoping that all the attendees will enjoy the event, that new contacts will be made, and that we all come away feeling we’ve learnt something new.  The Twitter hastag is #ConvCats although I won’t be able to tweet myself during the day, I hope that some people will; and I aim to write up the event on this blog afterwards.

So far I’ve learned that the organising of these kind of events always takes up more time than you realise/remember; and I end up juggling half a dozen different tasks in my head.  Despite my relative calm at the moment, I’ve also no doubt that come Tuesday morning I will be stepping on that rollercoaster again.



Filed under Cataloguing, Conferences, Librarianship, Staff development

2 responses to “Head juggling: preparing for a conference

  1. @stjerome1st

    Good luck for the day; I’m sure it’ll go well and I’m sorry to be missing out!

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