A wise man once said that intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, but wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. There are plenty of smart things to be said about professional networking, presenting new ideas, and other important conferencey things. Here, instead, are some pearls of feminine wisdom for your upcoming trip to Boston:


  • East Coast summers are warm and sticky. In light of this fact, you might be tempted to wear skirts and dresses to AALL. That’s a good idea: they’re polished, packable, and versatile. However, don’t forget about what’s going on under the skirt–warm and sticky legs. Try leggings, biker shorts, Spanx, whatever keeps your legs encased in their own cocoons of cool. Plus, you can sit cross legged on the floor of the exhibit hall and eat free appetizers like a lady.
  • Of course, you’re planning to wear comfortable shoes. A. We’re librarians, but B. You’re smart. Be mindful that what’s comfortable for an 8-10 hour work day may not translate into comfortable for a 10-14 hour conference day.
  • Are you dropping your resume at the Career Center? You might end up at an on-the-spot-ish interview! Fingers crossed for you, friends. Does this mean you need to pack an interview suit? Heavens, no. Travel with a structured cardigan and a big girl scarf. They’re less likely to arrive in Boston a rumpled mess, you can keep them in your big ass conference tote bag, plus you can incorporate them into other outfits and not feel like you packed useless garments.
  • How to tie a big girl scarf? Check out Liberty London’s videos, and these charming illustrated diagrams to get started.


  • Going outside into the heat and humidity, then inside to a frigid conference hall, and back and forth and so on makes skins dry and unhappy.  May I suggest a simple, light weight, fragrance free hand cream that can double as a facial moisturizer to keep in your big ass conference tote bag? It’s one more thing to carry, but it’s better than scratching at your face and neck all day. I like Nivea products, but you do you.
  • Waterproof mascara is not just for synchronized swimmers. Don’t forget, humidity is water in the air. I use CoverGirl LashBlast Length Water Resistantmascara. They make a LashBlash Volume in Water Proof, but I find it’s too hard to remove, and I look like I’ve misapplied falsies.

  • What else does water in the air do? It wrangles your hair like a baby calf. Let your natural hair do it’s thing, and you won’t look like it’s your first time at the rodeo. Worried that your natural hair is a little too Afro Circus? Channel your inner Diana Ross.

Meeting & Greeting

  • There are so many strangers at library conferences. The goal is not to meet everyone. But, you’ve got to meet someone, hermits. If you start a conversation with someone, the odds that they’re relieved you spoke first are fairly high. You know us.
  • But, what to say? If you’re hanging in the exhibit hall, talk about vendor swag. If you’re post-session, talk about how to apply what you just learned at your library. If you’re at a reception, talk about the food. I know it’s hard sometimes, but be brave!
  • Of course, some strangers are stranger than others. The odds are good that you’ll meet fabulous people–but the goods can be odd. You know us. Is there anything wrong with laughing in the middle of an awkward exchange for no reason at all? I think not. Fly your freak flag higher, then politely excuse yourself, and don’t think a thing about it.


  • The best part of any gathering with free food is the free food, no? Be wary: not everything presented as finger food is really finger food. If something is slippery, saucy, loosely breaded or covered in spice, look down to see if your outfit is of a coordinating color.
  • BBQ sliders and a red dress? No problem. Decadent chocolate cupcakes and a white button down? Exercise caution. Marinated antipasti on tooth picks? You’re never getting those olive oil stains out.
  • No one is giving away apples for free, but don’t forget to eat some veggies while you’re at conference, or you’ll be way tired and not know why by day three.

Have a safe trip to Boston, enjoy annual meeting, and I hope to see you there!