Elephant Post: What Is Your Favorite Conference City?

You may agree with me that the best thing about going to a professional conference is finally making it back home and sleeping in your own bed. However, that doesn't mean we don't enjoy ourselves while we are traveling to different cities every year and meeting up with our usual set of friends over a round of drinks or a nice dinner. This week, we wanted to know what city you enjoy going to the most, and why that is.

Oddly enough, almost all of the cities were West of the Mississippi (or in one case, directly on the Mississippi). This may upset many of the conference planners because I know they prefer to have the conferences smack-dab on the East coast because of the ease in which all those law firms, law schools and government agencies can send their people to attend the conferences. Nevertheless, these are the wonderful cities you chose to share with us.

Next week's Elephant Post (embedded form conveniently placed below this week's contributions) asks what do you think your organization will stop buying in the next two to five years. If something just popped into your head when you read that last sentence, don't forget to scroll down and let us know what it was!!

Kevin Miles

The conference center itself is well designed and at the epicenter of most of the hotels; the weather is very mild; the Pike Place Market is a great place to wander and relax; for exercise there are the mountains, bike trails and self-guided tours; For cool things to brag about, there are the Space Needle, the Seattle Art Museum, and of course, the Seattle Public Library.

Lisa Rush

Monterey, CA
The calm and beauty of it.  Good transportation.  Easy to walk.

Greg Lambert
Library/Records Guy

Eugene, Oregon
So maybe Eugene isn't on the "big" conference rotations, but I went to a CALI conference in 1998 or 1999 in Eugene and found it to be a wonderful city that rivals Austin, Texas in "weirdness" … but in a cool way. It isn't just cool in spirit either. It was actually really nice weather for late June.   While I was there, I got to drive out to the Pacific Ocean and watch the sun set, I drove out to Sisters, OR which was like Jackson Hole, Wyoming (without the snobby L.A. actors and hipsters scene), plus I got to watch an Anarchist rally where people were stripping off their clothes and smashing any corporate window (especially those with a Nike Swoosh on them.) Thinking back, however, it seems a little oxymoronic to have an organized Anarchist rally, doesn't it??  Oh yeah… the CALI conference was great, too!! If it wasn't for the lack of hotel space and conference locations, I'd suggest that AALL, SLA, ILTA and others go to Eugene every ten years or so.

Stephanie Davidson

For me, the best conference city has all the restaurant and arts offerings of a medium-sized or large city, and proximity of the conference activities to the city, and/or excellent public transportation options to venture beyond conference-land. If we could hold the conference at a law school like CALI does, I'd quickly pick Columbus or Seattle or Boulder, but AALL in its current form is most attractive to me when it's in Chicago or DC.

Donna Williams
Law Librarian

Denver, CO
Location, it's easy to get to from almost everywhere in the U.S.  The convention center & hotels were right across the street.  It was very clean and the shopping district & restaurants were very close by.

Marilyn Bromley

I love Denver as a conference city. It has great June/July weather, incredible scenery, a nice set of hotels and an up-to-date conference center, and fun eating and shopping.  But most of all I love being there because I feel healthy and alive when I'm visiting, and I can easily imagine living there (as opposed to hot towns like New Orleans and San Antonio, or crowded towns like NY).  Seattle is a close second to Denver for the same reasons.

Sarah Glassmeyer
Director of Content Development, CALI.org

New Orleans
Okay, let's just get it out of the way.  Yes, New Orleans' weather sucks (especially if you are attending a conference there in the summer which most librarian conferences are.) It's hot and muggy in a way that can only be described by referencing Satan or Hell.  And there's no public transportation. And it smells funny.  And it can be sort of divey and dangerous if you leave the tourist areas.  And the tourist areas are filled with....well, tourists of the obnoxious frat boy variety. EVEN WITH ALL THAT, I love going to conferences in New Orleans!   Visiting NOLA is like traveling to a foreign country. You'll see things and meet people there that exist no where else in the USA.  There's always great live music to be found and even better food and drink for those evening post conference adventures with your fellow attendees. From high class super fancy to earthy and street, no matter what your tastes or comfort level, there's a venue for you.  And maybe the heat encourages you to stay in the cool convention center and attend meetings during the day?  If you want safe and easy, go to Washington, DC. (Which is also obnoxiously hot, by the way.)  I'll always happily go to NOLA.

Jennifer Stephens

Seattle, WA
I've been to Seattle twice for AALL conferences, and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. The airport has plenty of shops to keep you entertained while waiting for flights, there is plenty of coffee, and the convention center does not sprawl over multiple city blocks.  Biggest plus: the temperatures tend to be 20 degrees cooler than they are in Texas during the summer. As I recall, it is fairly easy to walk to major attractions (the market, coffee shops, the convention center, places to eat, the underground Seattle tour.)  Biggest drawback: how long it takes to fly there...

Toby Brown

Las Vegas
On a personal note, don't believe the marketing slogan.

Next Elephant Post:
What Will Your Organization Stop Buying In the Next Five Years?
While listening to one of the ILTA-TV broadcasts this week, I heard a speaker say that she thought that law firms would stop buying PC and Laptops in bulk, and would navigate toward supporting personal devices (mobile, tablet and personal laptops.) Whether that can actually happen or not, it does seem that organizations are under more and more pressure to support items that are normally outside the scope of what the organization buys, could firms leverage that demand and say that they would "support" unique devices, but that the employees are on the hook for purchasing them? Many organizations are already doing this with cell-phone service… so, it may not be too much of a stretch.

Don't limit your thinking to electronics, however. Are there other services, hardware, software, subscriptions, etc. that your organization currently buys, but may no longer need over the next two to five years? Let us know what you think, and come back this time next week to see what others have contributed as well.

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