Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, INFor learning purposes and to simply help out, I decided to volunteer for the conference this year which has been interesting so far. As I noted Tuesday, I made it in to town in time to attend the Volunteer orientation where conference officers and representatives from the FGS Board members gave us pointers, encouragement, and thanks upfront.

Throughout the conference I’ll do a stint as Room Monitor—that was Wednesday, at Registration (way too early) this morning, and in the Exhibit Hall on Friday. My thoughts were that this would give me more insight into FGS, plus I visit here enough that I thought I could actually be helpful, and I’m just crazy enough that I kind of like doing stuff like this—shhhh… don’t tell!

And as a plus I was posted in some of the sessions I would have gone to anyway such as Cyndi Ingle Howell’s plenary on society websites. This was a great common sense presentation and dead on for all the conversations I’ve had as a webmaster or contributor for various organizations.

I also loved Amy Johnson Crow’s presentation “Finding and Keeping Volunteers” (W-103). She offered lots of great common sense advice… that not enough institutions, let alone Societies, use. This included the notion that if you’re going to ask if people are interested in volunteering, you need to get back to them in a timely manner. Or the novel concept that we need to be more specific—job description, title, who they report to, etc. not just say, “We need volunteers. Call me.”

I also monitored for Donna Moughty’s presentation, “Printed vs Online Publishing for Societies” (W-110) which I might not have chosen based on the syllabus but I enjoyed nonetheless. She introduced a number of print-on-demand, and other online services that I would be interested in looking into. She also seconded a number of Cyndi’s comments regarding websites in the plenary.

Once my volunteer stint was through I had lunch and headed back over to ACPL’s Genealogy Center. It was packed and had nowhere near enough plugs for the variety of devices being used. It reminded me of this (for those interested in the secrets of librarians and libraries, this is a great resource). So, I worked for as long as my battery lasted on my Martin family (from Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arkansas) and then headed down to the Dunkin Donuts for a drink and to run database searches while my computer recharged—there are a fair share of seats near outlets and the Wi-Fi reaches down there.

I closed the day attending the opening social at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. I chatted with a number of nifty folks and took a tour around the gardens before calling it quits. I will freely admit that while I have it relatively easy, as I’m here largely on my own and not for my organization, I’m still a bit exhausted already. But I’m definitely looking forward to the next few days!

Happy hunting!

Jess

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