The New Mexico conference crew and I are excited to welcome the AISL 2023 conference attendees to Santa Fe in less than a month! 

When I joined AISL at the urging of Linda Mercer in 2002, she talked with me constantly about how unique the AISL annual conference experience is for independent school librarians and why I needed to go. It took me eight years to get to my first conference in Nashville. My library conference experience before AISL was ALA and AASL. As a new person at the conference, I definitely felt like I was the new kid at school. It took me several conferences and other members working to include me before I found my place. I am so grateful that I did find my people. I remain an introvert with many friends in AISL. We are hoping our suggestions will help you get the most out of your conference experience.

What makes the AISL Annual Conference unique? 


I like to set a small goal for myself to meet two or three new people that I haven’t met before. Some of my best professional friends have come from chance conversations waiting to get on the bus, walking into a school, taking a water break after a session, at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Social Gatherings:

  • Since we haven’t been in person for a while, we are starting off our conference with a cocktail event at La Fonda. I hope you’ll join us!
  • If you have been a member of our Mentor Cohort Program any time in the last three years, please join us for an event right before the cocktail party. 


  • If you’d like to have a dinner partner/group on Monday, meet up in the hotel lobby at 5:30 pm. Check out the list of restaurant suggestions on both the conference website and on the Sched App. Conference Committee folks will be in the lobby to assist.
  • Wednesday morning will be a great time to get some breakfast and meet in small groups before we start our day at 9:30 am. You can talk about your favorite books or dive into programming and curriculum with new and old friends. You can reach out on the Sched App too!

Bus Time:

  • Tuesday will be a great day for bus networking. The drive to Albuquerque is a little over an hour each way. 
  • Sit with someone different on the bus every trip (even stand at the front and ask if anyone is up for discussing a particular issue.)


Above all else, this is what makes our conference unique. We will get on buses and go to our local independent schools where you will have the opportunity to see several library spaces, the design and layout, furniture and space use.

  • When arriving at a new location, take a photo of the sign so you remember where your photos are from (very important when visiting different schools).
  • Ask the host librarian if you would like more information on any aspect of their space. Don’t be shy!


  • La Fonda is located on the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe. You are staying in the heart of Santa Fe with a ton of restaurants, Palace of the Governors, several independent bookstores, art galleries, retail stores, and museums. 
  • Jenny and I will continue to remind you that you are staying at 7,000 feet elevation and altitude sickness is real and can happen to anyone. It happened to me. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you are not feeling well, please reach out.
  • Bring sunscreen and moisturizer
  • Wear comfortable shoes – lots of dirt and gravel in New Mexico.
  • Cold weather is a real possibility. I know New Mexico sounds like it should be a warm place, but 7,000 feet elevation in the month of March can be chilly. Or not. Honestly, anything could happen weather-wise at that time of year. Check and re-check the weather forecast. Our weather can change rapidly.

VETERAN ATTENDEES: What advice would you give members attending an AISL conference for the first time? Comment below!


  1. Prepare to be amazed! This is not your average sit in a conference room all day conference. Wear comfortable shoes and a bring backpack instead of a tote bag…and heck bring a cute dress for the Skip Anthony, it’s not everyday we get to be gussied up for work! 🙂

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