Greetings First-Timers and New Attendees!

A great place to start, before even arriving, is reviewing the ArLiSNAP's conference survival guide wiki which was developed by the members of ArLiSNAP, a.k.a the Art Library Students & New ARLIS Professionals group. If this is your first ARLIS annual conference, below are some tips to help you strategize and navigate the program and events schedules. When you register for the conference, you may be asked to indicate which sessions you plan to attend.  When you arrive, however, feel free to change your mind, or even go from one session to another if you find the first one isn't what you expected. And if you are coming to ARLIS on a budget, ArLiSNAP's Expenses and Money Saving Tips has some great suggestions.

Get Your Bearings: There are many meetings, workshops, sections, and special events typically open to all attendees. Any closed meetings will be noted as such in the program. For a complete overview of the different types of meetings convened at ARLIS Annual, see the ArLiSNAP's Conference Survival Guide.

Prioritizing and Planning Your Time: READ AHEAD! The conference website and printed program will include abstracts of all the papers and brief descriptions of the poster sessions. Try using the conference self-scheduler to help plan your day. What are the events to look out for? Depending on who you ask, every answer will be a little different but generally, time and schedule permitting, all first timers should attend the First Time Attendees Orientation, the Convocation, and the Welcome Party. The Membership Meeting Lunch is a good way to hear about the current affairs of the organization and the Exhibits Hall is a must. PACE YOURSELF! If you try to be everywhere or attend everything the first day or two, you will run out of energy and interest.

Travel, Hotel, and Boston:

  • Get to know Boston! Do a little research before you go - the ACRL Arts Guide is a good start. Consider taking a tour; not only are tours great ways to learn about the city but are also opportunties to meet new people and network.
  • Check the Weather! Spring in Boston can bring unexpected rain and temperatures ranging from a bitter cold snap to a heatwave. Plus hotel conference rooms are notoriously over-airconditioned so be sure to bring layers.
  • What to Wear? The general practice seems to be "business casual" unless a tour or workshop requires something particular. If you are presenting a paper, clearly use common sense.
  • Getting Around - If you are not staying at the conference hotel, be sure to plan your route. It is also recommended that you have an evening travel plan should an event or dinner with friends run late. Click here for information about public safety and the T. (While every line on the T is a little different, the general hours of operation are from 5 am through 12:30 am with hours varying on Sundays. Check the schedule.) For a thorough overview of the Boston subway system, see this guide.
  • Have plenty of small bills - It will make it much easier to deal with tips and paying your share of any group meals. Ask ahead of time for seperate bills or receipts for expense purposes rather than at the very end of the meal.
  • What to tip? The general practice is $1 to $2 per bag for bellhops, $1 to $2 for doormen for hailing cabs; $1 to $2 per night for housekeeping staff; and between 15 and 20 percent for waiterstaff.

Exhibits Hall:

  • Review the list of exhibitors! This info will be included in the printed program; highlight the vendors you want to meet. This will help to use your exhibit time to your best advantage.
  • Try to Attend the Opening! This is a great chance to cruise the exhibits, making mental notes of the vendors that you'’ll want to visit in more depth later.
  • End of Event Sale: It is not unusual that towards the end of the conference, some exhibitors will sell sample or display copies of monographs at a hefty discount to attendees.

About Programs, Division, and Section Meetings:

  • Program or Meeting Etiquette: With so much to see and all the different obligations and many places to be, you will routinely see ARLIS attendees moving in and out of program sessions. Speakers expect this and are not offended if you have to get up and leave.
  • Get Involved! Section and Division meetings are always looking for volunteers to serve in leadership positions or on sub-committees. The appointment process is pretty informal and generally the work invovled is rarely burdensome or time-consuming.

Conference Networking Program:

  • Volunteer! Attending your first or second ARLIS/NA conference?  Are you just beginning to develop your ARLIS/NA professional network? If so, the Conference Networking Program is for you. It will provide you with an experienced ARLIS/NA member to show you the ropes and introduce you to new colleagues. For ARLIS/NA veterans, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet and help welcome new colleagues into the profession. For more information or to complete a volunteer form, please refer to the For Volunteers page.

Dos & Don'ts of Networking -Highlighted from the ARLISNAP Conference Survival materials

  • Do accept that networking is important and take it seriously.  Art librarianship is a small field and it helps to be acquainted with people.  Getting the word out that you are on the hunt for a job (or internship, or whatever) can help your cause.
  • Don't foist your CV on unsuspecting victims.  If someone asks for it, make sure you have a copy handy.  If not, provide him or her with your contact info to get in touch with you as is convenient.
  • Do sign up for volunteer slots and mentoring workshops.  Both of these activities are a great way to meet new people who just might be able to help you out. 
  • Don't forget to send follow-up emails to anyone you've made a connection with after the conference.  Not only is it just polite, but emails also cement contacts in the post-conference world.
Things to bring if you are interested in networking - Highlighted from the ArLiSNAP Conference Survival Guide
  • Business Cards
  • A notepad to take down names of people you meet, and notes about why you might want to get in touch with them when you get home
  • An "elevator speech"!  Be prepared to describe yourself, your experience, and your interests in a concise way.  Imagine that you meet the director of the library you've always dreamed of working for... but you only have the short walk between sessions (or a ride in an elevator) to introduce yourself and make an impression.  Think of what you would say in advance so you won't be caught of guard or left thinking... "if only...".
  • An outgoing personality.  At ARLIS/NA conferences, many people are meeting up with friends and colleagues they've known for years.  So if you're new, you may feel like you have to stick your neck out a bit to get in on the conversation.  Be a bit daring!  Start converstions with interesting people, introduce yourself, ask questions, etc.  You'll see that folks are quite welcoming!