Later today I will be heading toward the coast to attend the South Carolina Library Association Annual Conference 2010 in Myrtle Beach. This year’s conference is entitled, “South Carolina Libraries: Advocacy from the Ground Up.” Keynote speakers include:
- Roberta Stevens, President of the American Library Association
- Lynne Bradley, Director of the Office of Government Relations of the ALA’s Washington Office
- Walter Edgar, Southern historian/author and Director of the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina
The slate of concurrent sessions includes some interesting topics, and I have some good friends among the presenters. It promises to be a fun and productive time.
I’ll be on Twitter (@jkennerly) and using the hashtag #scla10. Send me a tweet if you would like to connect.
Do you and your staff struggle to find funds or time to travel and attend professional development events such as conferences, workshops, and seminars? If so, have you considered webinars and virtual conferences? A number of online staff development opportunities exist–many of them at very little cost. And in some cases…for free. That’s right. Free.
This is certainly true in the library world. Free (or very low-cost) webinars abound for library staff development and training. Likewise, virtual conferences can be very affordable alternatives when it simply isn’t feasible within your budget or work schedule to hit the road or take to the skies for overnight/multi-day events.
Marianne Lenox has written a post in praise of the free webinar over at the ALA Learning Round Table blog. Her post includes a handy Google Reader Bundle that she put together to keep track of free webinar offerings with relevance to libraries. You can add the bundle to your favorite RSS reader and learn about upcoming free webinars that may be of interest to you or other members of your library staff.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the one-day virtual summit, Ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point, presented by Library Journal. I have attended a number of webinars, but this was my first experience with a virtual conference. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I heard some interesting speakers and took away some informative thoughts and ideas–all for a very, very reasonable cost well within our limited staff development budget this year. One thing that impressed me was how much interaction was available between attendees, presenters, and vendors. When done well–as was this conference–there is much to be said for virtual attendance at such events.
Do you know of any good sources of information on free or low-cost webinars? Feel free to share them in a comment below.
If you are reading this but don’t work in a library, chances are there are free or low-cost webinars, etc. related to your job or area of interest that are available. Search the web. Ask others in your profession. Check with professional organizations. With a little investigating, you just may find something of interest.
It is graduation season. Many graduates have just recently tossed their mortarboards into the air, and others will be joining them over the next few weeks. Among them all are those who will be entering the library profession, having earned a masters degree in library science. They are librarians–the newest among the clan.
Last week I was able to find time to read through the May 2010 issue of College & Research Libraries News. In it is an article by Rene Tanner entitled “Making the Most of Your Career: Advice for New Academic Librarians.” Reading this article turned my thoughts to a member of my library staff who was one of those individuals graduating this month with her M.L.I.S. degree. She joined our library staff in January 2006, and I remember very vividly that day back in 2007 when she approached me to let me know that she wanted to pursue a masters degree in library science. It has been a joy mentoring her and watching her learn new skills and develop her own take on what it means to be a librarian. And now, after three years of taking classes part-time while holding down her job at our library, she has completed her studies and officially claimed the right and privilege of being called a librarian. I look forward to the contributions that she will bring to the job as she accepts new responsibilities and challenges.
While there are wiser, more seasoned veteran librarians than me, I would like to offer a few words–5 thoughts–to the newest members of our profession.
1. Celebrate your accomplishments. You have devoted many hours to a graduate library science program. You have gathered wisdom from lectures, broadened your concept of what it means to be an information handler, collaborated with fellow students, tackled issues facing the profession, written your reflections about those issues, learned new skill sets, and shaped your dreams about how you can contribute to the work of libraries. You have come a long way. The real work lies ahead, but for now enjoy what you have accomplished.
2. Find your place. A public library. A college campus library. A K-12 school library. A law library or some other special library. A non-traditional library setting. You may or may not already know the setting where you feel you can most thrive. If so, congratulations. You have subdued half the battle already. If not, be patient, explore the options, talk with veteran librarians, and take note of how you feel about the profession in various settings. The same holds true not only for the setting, but also for the various roles within those settings. Study to learn those jobs/areas within the library where your skill set–your talents–make the greatest contributions and where you feel the most fulfilled at the end of the day.
3. Join the fray. When you land your first library job out of graduate school, remember that you will be joining a group of folks and a library with a history and a mission that is well underway. I guess what I am trying to say is: Acknowledge your role among the many and join in the team effort to provide and promote library resources and services.
4. Sing new songs. While it is important to recognize and work with the existing makeup of a library and its staff, don’t be afraid to bring your abilities and ideas to the table–no matter how new or untraditional they may seem. Be respectful, but be a contributor. Learn and join in with the tunes that are well-known among that library’s staff, but sing your new songs as well. You just may find others humming your new tunes or asking you to teach the song to them.
5. Bring the passion. Right now, do you feel the excitement that comes at the beginning of a journey? Do you have the passion? It is my hope that you are teeming with ideas and energy that will breathe new life into libraries. In a profession that can be underpaid and overlooked, never doubt the value of what you can offer as a librarian. Hold the banner high. With a well-placed passion and professional enthusiasm, you can encourage those around you and make a difference.
To all the recent library school graduates out there, I offer my heart-felt congratulations and my excitement in knowing that there continue to be those who hear and heed the call. Welcome to the ranks, fellow librarians!