One of the most amazing things I have been able to do in a professional capacity so far was attending IFLA 2010 in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was a great conference and I took away a lot; I was on the team for the IFLA Express so my “attendance” involved a lot of sitting in an office far away form the talks, yet I still feel it was a valuable experience. The networking was great, Gothenburg is a lovely city, and on the whole, it was an amazing week.
What was frustrating was that, at that point in time, I was in no position to implement any of the knowledge that I had taken away. But, you know, it’s never gone, and it’s all experience. It’s taught me a lot about attending, planning, etc. I tend to think though that I prefer smaller events, like Online and the German Bibliothekartag, because they are more specific and the way that I network works better with smaller crowds of people. Larger conferences have their uses and if I got the chance to go to one I would obviously jump, but I think, personally, I’m better with smaller events.
I haven’t done any of that (yet) but I hope that once I qualify, I’ll be able to be a bit more involved with things. I did get some insight into the behind-the-scenes work of a conference at IFLA, and I have helped organised big events, but none of them were library-related.