Closet Conference Bags

dated conference bagsAt the last conference I attended two weeks ago, I told the registration attendant to just keep the bag and only give me the program. Why? Because I’m tired of dated conference bags. They only seem to collect dust in my closet. Here’s proof. And this is just half the stash I pulled out from the top shelve in my continued quest to go through the closets and pare down before the move.

So here’s my question… why do conference totes* always have to have a date on them? To me, this makes the bag undesirable to carry around the minute I step on the plane home. As you can see from my stash, they get such a tremendous amount of use [cough, cough]. In fact, the only time they ever do seem to get pulled out of closet is when my mother visits and needs a disposable bag to carry the girls' art work and “grammie treasures” home in.

Anyway, the asterisk (*) in my question above does have a caveat worth sharing. For when I spoke at the New South Wales Public Library Conference in Australia in July, I actually received a conference tote worth keeping and using. What made this bag a keeper was ...

1) is was not printed with the conference name or date on it.
2) it was designed by a local artist and
3) (perhaps most importantly for the conference sponsors) it contained two small plastic removable slip covers that
    a) allowed the conference sponsor to promote itself &
    b) accommodated a business card so that people in crowded conference room could tell whose bag was whose when they were piled up on the ground.

Photos of the "keeper bag" are here and here.

I don’t know if this is standard for all library conferences in Australia, but I gotta say that this is an approach I’d love to see adopted by conferences over here. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to receive a bag that was artistically attractive? Or at least one that wasn’t dated the minute you hailed a taxi for airport?

BTW: If you’re wondering what I’m going to do with the 14 bags I hauled out of the closet today, it’s this … I’ve decided to give them to the library’s outreach services department. With all they haul around and leave here and there, I figure they could use a handful of disposable canvas bags.

How about you... how many dated conference bags do you have in your closet?


Frances said...

Helene - As a big fan of canvas bags (I use my small stash constantly, especially at the grocery store), I am glad you decided to give yours to Youth & Outreach. However, I am sad you called them "disposable" - canvas and nylon bags can provide decades of use if they aren't terribly abused.

I'd be happy to provide a home to any other items you need to pass on before you move! :)


Nancy said...

I agree with you get another stash go "Green" and use them at the grocery store or shopping.

HeleneB said...

Frances & Nancy -

You're both right about them about not being "disposable" I was using the word in the meaning as 'give-away-able'

Perhaps that's what they should print instead of their logo - "Go Green" and encourage to conserve.

sharon said...

I see a lifetime supply of reusable grocery bags!

Webgurl said...

In, Australia most of our conference bags are of the type displayed in the photo in the post. They have the conference name etc on them.

I love them though. I always keep them to store odds and ends in them.

I did like the Merimbula bag though. Very cute!

Cheers, webgurl

Anonymous said...

I can't say that I have any dated conference bags hanging around. I usually get rid of them immediately in the name of fashion. :) But I do like the grocery bag idea... maybe I'll have to start keeping them.

Cat Herself said...

Grocery bags are a great use. I also use them for project management - one project per bag. Then I can grab the project bag I need as I go out of my office to the next meeting. Of course, that plan is shot to *&#$ when I have 2 or more meetings in a row for different projects. Sigh.

Jessi said...

I donated my stash, and stopped taking them at conferences about 2 years ago. Don't worry, I have a stash of Giant Eagle canvas bags for the grocery store to save on all the plastic. The newer versions don't work well for groceries anyway they are all too narrow.