Today marks six months since I earned my MLIS degree and became an official librarian! Although I’m done with the degree, I’m always seeking to grow. Maybe it’s the librarian in me, but I love learning new things. One way I do that is through conference attendance. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I wasn't able to attend in person library conferences until this summer. The experiences were well worth the wait!
I started the summer off by presenting a lightning talk at the Association of College and Research Libraries, New England Chapter and New England Library Instruction Group Annual Conference. My talk was titled Being The Newbie: How to Support the Successful Integration of a New Librarian and I discussed how I transitioned into my new role as a Research and Instruction Librarian at Bryant University.
Next up was the American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. I was fortunate to attend my first ALA Annual Conference with the support of the ALA Spectrum Scholarship and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Breaking Barriers Scholarship. It was great to connect with other librarians and to finally meet my Spectrum Scholarship cohort in person at the Spectrum Leadership Institute. Their words of encouragement helped to reinvigorate me to keep pushing for more representation of BIPOC individuals in this profession. Additionally, I had a blast meeting amazing authors including Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, Angela Jackson-Brown and so many more! I stocked up on advanced reader copies so my ‘to be read’ pile is huge. I need a new bookcase! I can’t wait to attend ALA Annual again.
Switching gears I attended the Special Libraries Association conference in Charlotte, NC in August. I was able to attend this conference with the support the SLA New England James Matarazzo student stipend. Though small in size, what set this conference apart from others I have attended were the connections made. I was able to connect with so many special librarians through this conference by taking advantage of the in person format and just speaking to people I happened to be near. The wonderful thing about SLA is the interdisciplinary nature of the work that members do. I was blown away by the different library settings through which attendees were employed. I’m looking forward to getting to know many more people through membership in SLA.
I’m extremely grateful for the financial support I received to attend these conferences as I otherwise would not have been able to attend. I would encourage people to take advantage of every opportunity available and apply for these scholarships. I’m already looking forward to attending other conferences in the future and even presenting at some. Stay tuned for more conference adventures!