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The ILA 2019 Conference: Know Before You Go

By Alina O'Donnell
 | Sep 04, 2019

The International Literacy Association 2019 Conference, which takes place October 10–13 in New Orleans, LA, is just around the corner. The event offers exciting opportunities to expand your professional learning networks, exchange insights and ideas, and get inspired.

But conferences can also be intimidating and overwhelming—especially when there are hundreds of sessions from which to choose, and 1.1 million square feet of space to cover.

To help you navigate #ILA19 with ease and ensure your conference experience is productive and rewarding, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks from veteran conference-goers.  

Before you arrive:

  • Plan ahead. Use the ILA 2019 iPlanner now to get an overview of this year’s offerings and develop a game plan. You can even create personal entries, such as a coffee date with a colleague. The best part? You can sync your iPlanner schedule to the ILA 2019 app.
  • Download the conference app. The ILA 2019 app, slated to go live mid-September, puts your personalized schedule, conference floor plan, room locations, session and event descriptions, exhibitors list, and other pertinent information at your fingertips.
  • Get social.  Don’t wait until you arrive. If you don’t already, follow ILA on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to get real-time updates and connect with other attendees using the hashtag #ILA19.
  • Join the October #ILAchat. Get all the key information you need during our #ILAchat on Thursday, October 3. Conference speakers, veteran attendees, and ILA staff members will provide a sneak peek of what to expect from ILA 2019 as well as offering their take on how to maximize your conference experience.
  • Pack wisely.  Temperature in New Orleans is usually in the high 70s/low 80s in October but can be cooler at night—and we all know how chilly conference centers tend to be. Dress in layers, and when it comes to shoes, consider opting for comfort over style. (The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is the sixth largest convention center in the United States!) Other must-have items include phone and device chargers (portable if possible), a reusable water bottle, and business cards.
  • Prepare to connect. There will be plenty of opportunities to network at the ILA 2019 Conference, including the First-Timers Event, Literacy Night at Mardi Gras World, and even during breaks between sessions. Bring your business cards to facilitate info swaps. Better yet, create a contact card for yourself in your phone and share via AirDrop or text message.

Once you arrive on-site:

  • Visit Registration. Pick up your materials, including your name badge and badge holders, tickets, and a prestuffed tote bag with printed program book (if you’re taking a shuttle bus, it will drop you off near Registration). Registration is open 12:00 PM–6:00 PM on Wednesday, 7:00 AM–6:00 PM on Thursday, 7:00 AM–5:00 PM on Friday and Saturday, and 7:00 AM–11:00 AM on Sunday.
  • Check out the Welcome to ILA 2019 Event. Join us in the Exhibit Hall on Thursday, October 10, from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM to mix and mingle while exploring new products and learning the latest innovations and cutting-edge resources. Registration is filling up for this exclusive event, so reserve your spot soon.
  • Swing by the ILA Resource Lounge. The lounge is a space to network, connect with colleagues, and recharge while learning about all things ILA (including membership, journals, and ILA 2020 Conference).
  • Find the "Ask Me" guides. Look for these friendly folks wearing big ILA buttons that say "ASK ME"—they’ll be prepared to answer all your conference-related questions.
  • Grab a shuttle schedule. ILA will provide complimentary shuttle service between most official ILA 2019 Conference hotels and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center starting on Thursday, October 10 at 6:30 AM. Schedules will be available on-site and in the lobbies of hotels on the official scheduled route. Our official hotel list identifies which locations are on the shuttle route.
  • Explore the local literary scene. New Orleans is a vibrant city, known for its jazz music, Cajun food, architecture, and, yes—its rich literary scene.
  • Browse the Exhibit Hall. Kick off conference and get in the Mardi Gras spirit at our new Exhibit Hall preview and networking event on Thursday from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. With more than 100 exhibitors present, attendees can learn the latest innovations, catch a book signing by a favorite author, make valuable new connections, and more. Following the event, the hall will be open 9:30 AM–5:00 PM on Friday and 8:00 AM–3:00 PM on Saturday.

See you in New Orleans!

Alina O'Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.

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