Professional development is always a tricky prospect, because to a very large extent the opportunities are defined more by external factors than internal motivation. That being said, even during these times of declining library budgets I've been able to attend a few more conferences than I otherwise would have been allowed to go to by presenting instead of simply attending. My presentation about international interlibrary loan at the IDS Conference in Oswego, New York in the Summer of 2010 garnered a couple of additional invitations from impressed attendees, and I was just informed that my joint proposal with a colleague to present about our electronic document delivery service (aka Scan & Deliver) was accepted for the 2012 ILLiad International Conference in Virginia Beach.
What I've really missed, however, are the ALA Conferences, which have been more or less off the table for a few years due to reduced travel funds. This was a bitter pill for me to swallow at first, especially as I was only just getting my feet wet as a budding library professional with committee work when the hammer came down. Fortunately Boston comes up on the Midwinter circuit frequently enough that I've been able to attend two of the January meetings, but aside from one summer in Anaheim (2008) I haven't been able to attend the Annual Conference since then. Now that my wife is finishing her Masters in Library Science this June, however, I would really like her to experience the full library conference experience- the fact that Annual will be returning to Anaheim this year means that we could even bring our daughter and make a Disneyland vacation of the long weekend while we were at it.
So I put in for the travel funds today, emboldened by the news that due to some recent departures we might actually have enough professional development money to go around. Even if I don't end up getting approved, I suspect that my wife and I will find a way to Make It Happen anyway, because 2012 is shaping up to be that kind of year. Just the same, I'm hoping for good news. And who knows? Maybe ALA will become a regular gig again, and I'll be able to pick up where I'd left off with my committee participation. Now that's optimism!