Returning to library conferences in person

A year full of conferences 


Meescan’s had a phenomenal year back at in-person and virtual conferences! 


It was great to see familiar faces, meet new librarians and exhibitors, and return to conferences in such an exciting fashion. We had a great time visiting different cities and showing librarians the benefits of our self-checkout solution. The energy around every conference was contagious, and we’re excited to return to them next year!


But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s recap the highlights from each conference.  

Public Library Association (PLA) 


Our first in-person conference since the pandemic began, just like many of the librarians who attended. After two years, the energy from the library world reuniting in person was palpable!


From our team, Robyn (Business Development Manager), Peter (CTO), Andrea (CEO), and Michael (Customer Success Manager) drove down to Portland to meet all the librarians and fellow exhibitors.


Upon arrival, the Meescan team admired all the cherry blossoms in full bloom around the Oregon Convention Center. The convention centre was beautiful, and it was so heartwarming to see librarians interact with one another again. At PLA, we also debuted our new booth design with our updated branding. 


Outside of the conference:

·We visited many local coffee shops, hung out at a couple of breweries, and enjoyed amazing meals including breakfast at Screen Door and a phenomenal dinner at Andina in the Pearl District. 

·Robyn and Michael also had time to visit some bouldering gyms, although one could argue that Michael was a little petrified by the experience. 


Everyone agreed there was a special bit of magic at PLA because of the feeling of being back in person for the first time.



BC Library Conference (BCLA)


The next conference of the year took place in our home province. While this was virtual, we love any opportunity to connect with our local librarians.


Upon logging into the virtual platform, we enjoyed all the pet photos that attendees shared – it was delightful! During this virtual conference, Robyn spoke to a librarian from her local library in North Vancouver that she went to when she was a kid.


130 attendees visited our virtual booth, and Meescan had two online demos for those who were curious about how our library self-checkout solution works.

Texas Library Association (TLA)


On their way to Texas, Robyn and Amar (Solutions Specialist) arrived with a few minor inconveniences. There was a big thunderstorm the night before which led to many flight delays, impacting others attending TLA as well. But with some determination and patience, the two arrived in Fort Worth to showcase our products!


At the Fort Worth Convention Center, Robyn and Amar were able to set up the booth in record time, even when running on only 30 minutes of sleep. It was quite a satisfying reward given the rough travel experience.  


Outside of the conference: 

·Robyn and Amar visited a bouldering gym in the lively Cultural District.

·Robyn tried In-N-Out for the first time. 

·Channelled their inner Canadian by attending a Dallas Stars hockey game against the Vegas Golden Knights. 

·Went to the Stockyards to try on some cowboy hats and boots.  

·Enjoyed a range of food which included drinks the size of our heads and an amazing Texas BBQ dinner. 


Despite all the travel chaos before arriving in Texas, the southern hospitality and welcoming environment of the conference and the other activities made it all worth it. 

California Library Association (CLA) 


Robyn and Michael drove down to Seattle and then flew to Sacramento from there. On their drive to Seattle, they listened to The OC soundtrack as it just felt fitting for their trip to California. 


After arriving at SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, they had a very straightforward booth set up which was great. The opening of the exhibit hall featured a live mariachi band which was fun to witness! Overall, they had a great time speaking with librarians and chatting with the neighbouring exhibitors.  


Outside of the conference: 

·Michael and Robyn saw plenty of murals in the Sacramento area.

·Went to (you guessed it!) two different bouldering gyms. 

·Visited the California State Library and chatted with the librarians there. 

·Visited the University of California Davis (one of our customers) and got a tour of their library. 


It was a great escape from BC’s weather and Robyn and Michael enjoyed soaking up the sun throughout their trip.

American Library Association (ALA)


This is it, the big one! 


After a smooth travelling journey, Robyn, Michael, and Amar saw plenty of joyful attendees at ALA. There was a lot of interaction at our booth, and we loved spending time with all the attendees!  


We were astonished at how massive the conference was and enjoyed every minute of it. There were rescue rabbits in the middle of the conference hall for attendees to interact with, which was a wonderful way to take a five-minute break.


Outside of the conference, food was a big highlight.

·We unintentionally visited multiple Michelin-star restaurants.

·Had dinner at the famous Busboys and Poets.  

·Checked out some breakfast locations like A Baked Joint and had some fantastic bagels from Pearl’s Bagels


Some of our other adventures:

·Visited the White House, Jefferson Memorial, Capitol buildings, and several museums. 

·Convinced Robyn to ride electric scooters around the city all week. 

·Wandered the National Mall, and Robyn even went running there in the mornings.

·And of course, more bouldering gyms! 


The team also arranged a visit with one of our existing customers at Mary Riley Styles Public Library in Virginia. It was great to meet the staff here and enjoy a full tour of their library! 


Overall, ALA as a whole surpassed our expectations, and we are already excited for the conference in Chicago next year!


Association of Bookmobile & Outreach Services (ABOS)


Andrea and Robyn flew down to Scottsdale to exhibit at the Association of Bookmobile & Outreach Services for the first time. Compared to other conferences this year, ABOS was much smaller and more niche, which meant plenty of time to get to know the librarians and fellow exhibitors. 


The organizers of the conference had previously mentioned that ABOS felt like a family, and they were absolutely right! Hosted at a lovely hotel called The Scott Resort, the entire week felt like a cozy community gathering. 


Outside of the conference: 

·Robyn arrived in Arizona a few days early to go rock climbing in Queen Creek Canyon before ABOS started.

·Andrea and Robyn went to a bouldering gym just outside of Phoenix. 

·Explored some of the many breweries and restaurants in Old Town Scottsdale

·Visited two of our customers in the area, Creighton University and the University of Arizona

·Enjoyed a tour of the Scottsdale Public Library Civic Center with Jennifer Wong-Ortiz, the Community Engagement and Outreach Coordinator. 


After such an incredible first experience as an exhibitor with ABOS, it’s safe to say that we’ll eagerly be signing up for next year’s conference! 

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