Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In Praise of Standing in Line

I was only able to attend the first two hours of the SSD conference last month. Even in that relatively short time, I ended up standing in a couple of lines.

Queuing up is a standard activity at pretty much every conference. (A notable exception was Online Northwest several years ago, when the conference planners had designated one of the men's restrooms as a women's restroom for the day). We line up to get food, to visit the rest room, or visit a popular exhibitor. We frequently complain about it while we're doing it, and mention it on our conference evaluations.

Standing in line has its good points, though. Since I was at SSD for a short time, I never would have seen many of my SSD colleagues if I hadn't encountered them in the line for breakfast or the restroom. It was great to have a chance to catch up with folks I hadn't seen for a while (over a year, in some cases).

Standing in line is also a good way to meet new people. Don't be afraid to say "hi" and introduce yourself as the line snakes slowly toward the desserts. You can find out about other libraries and maybe make a new friend. At the very least, the line seems to move faster when you've got someone to talk to.

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