I have too many tabs open in my browser.

I’m in the middle of planning for ALA Annual Conference. Three weeks from Right Now(tm), actually, I will be … well, at the moment, there’s a blank spot in my Saturday afternoon schedule. But I haven’t added in the rest of my roundtable sessions, so I expect that once I do that, there will be fewer blank spots.

It feels awkward to be planning my conference experience while I’m still out of work. I managed to find a fairly inexpensive fare from National to O’Hare, and I managed to change my hotel reservation from the extremely convenient, pretty pricey hotel I had originally wanted to stay at to a more reasonably priced hotel that’s further across the city but hopefully still convenient to a conference shuttle stop. (And it’s more convenient to Whole Foods and a bunch of restaurants my gluten-free self can safely eat at, so that’s a win.) And I know that being able to visit the ALA JobList Placement Center will be helpful as well.

But not knowing which exact direction my nascent professional library career will take makes things a bit more complicated. Do I attend sessions geared towards public libraries? Do I attend sessions geared towards academic libraries? Do I attend sessions geared towards special libraries? Do I attend one or two of each kind? Do I say “heck with it” and focus on roundtable sessions and author signings?

I’m not sure in which direction I am ultimately leaning, hence the five million browser tabs.

(Aside, let me say this: I am so grateful to the organizations that have allowed me to volunteer for them while in the middle of my job search. Having read all the news articles on the terrifying reality of long-term unemployment, I’m aware that those of us who have been out of the pool for some time face an even greater uphill battle than the job searchers who are still working, or who are recently unemployed.

I’m not saying that they have it easy – none of us who have been one of 80, one of 100, one of 300 applicants for one job opening have it easy. And there is nothing more troubling than to be out of work when you need to be working. I’m incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to be doing SOMETHING library-related, helping people, using some of my skills.)

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