Web Magazine for Information Professionals


Chris Bailey goes to Heathrow, not to watch the planes but to attend a networking conference.

Up at 5 a.m. and make a dash to the bedroom window. Relief! The blizzard expected to hit Scotland with 10-15cms of snow has missed Glasgow. Stretch out, bleary-eyed and zombie-like, in the airport lounge to be greeted unexpectedly by my Head of Department. Make strenuous (and unsuccessful) attempts to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. We’re joined by the University Vice-Chancellor. Principles of line management dictate that my boss should now take responsibility for eye-brightness and tail-bushiness. I doze off again.
Safely on the ground at Heathrow, I head off to the courtesy coach for the airport hotel and am joined by a contingent of Irish librarians. Check in, and am amazed at how peaceful it is. Registration. Grab the delegates list and find with some relief that there are lots of people I know. After all, no successful conference would be the same without the opportunity for a good old gossip. We keep getting fed; I’ve never seen so many biscuits. Huge lunch turns out to be an appetite-whetter for an even huger dinner.

Saturday 10 February
What a good conference this is turning out to be. Really good papers, lots of great ideas (oh, and masses more food). Almost tangible enthusiasm between papers. At lunch I sit next to a colleague I haven’t seen for ages and have a good chat about the dubious joys of managing change. Enthusiasm marred by then drowning her in coffee. Conference approaches its finale. Lots of notes to pass on to colleagues at work. Get to the airport lounge; large gin and tonic and a first attempt to write a report while everything is still fresh. Relax…

Monday 12 February
Into work bright and and early, still buzzing, to be met with a plaintive plea to change the staff rota. The buzz subsides.