Statement of Benefit Natasha Hayes 2022

2022 American Library Association Annual Conference

Name of Recipient: Natasha Hayes
Institution: Henry County Cooperative Library Director
Date(s) of Event / Conference / Session: June 2022

How do I begin…
RUNNING!!! Well maybe not that quick, but let’s be clear you must ensure you are wearing the best “walking” shoes available to mankind prior to attending this massive conference. With SWFLN’s continued support and being the recipient of one of their scholarships, I was able to attend. Since this was my 3rd ALA Annual Conference, I knew what I was in for and the excitement was real as I couldn’t wait to check in at the hotel and then head directly to the registration desks in order to gain my badge and lanyard. This year was a tad different though as attendees were required to show proof of vaccination for COVID-19 or a negative test result from a lab and guess who forgot their card…? Yep, I sure did so in order to even get inside the “Registration Corral,” I had to find the closest CVS and pay $129. Thankfully, once that hurdle was completed, I received the green light and embarked on a 5 day, fast paced, energetic adventure. This year did not disappoint as I was able to attend numerous meetings/informational sessions, ticketed events, and hold on to your seat…THE EXHIBITION FLOOR!!!!

When they opened the doors to the exhibit floors, my heart raced and then my jaw dropped as we had to ride the escalator down one level, but before I did so, I stood and marveled at the vast space below which stretched for what seemed like miles filled with vendor booths. I could literally spend three full days simply in the exhibit hall networking with vendors and fellow colleagues and meeting amazing authors.

Thankfully I utilized the online “Scheduler” which allowed me to plan out each day which included numerous training sessions such as:

  • I mean, Disabilities Are Hard: Toward Inclusion and Equity for Young Children with Disabilities in Public Library Programs
  • E-rate and Emergency Connectivity Fund Update: What’s Going on With Federal Support for Library Connectivity
  • The ABC’s of Preserving Intellectual Freedom – Anticipating, Bridging and Conversing: How to Help Protect Your Library
  • Revisioning Library Services for Individuals who are Incarcerated and Detained

As well as the exhibits, then quickly hop the bus back to the hotel in order to unload the free merchandise, books, kits, and vendor contact information in my room, rest my sore feet and then head right back as this conference has something to do all day as well as into the evening. I acquired so many free books, gear, etc., that I didn’t have enough suitcases and had to ship it all to the library (thank goodness for “Library Rate” shipping fees).

If anyone is interested in a fun, jam-packed, high energy, educational training opportunity, you should definitely plan on attending this conference.