Things 15, 16, and 14, in that order
A little out of order, but sometimes linearality is overrated. I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but you know…things in a row. Moving along with cpd 23:
Thing 15: Attending, Presenting at, and Organizing Events
I’m going to talk mostly about organizing events because I’ve been hard at work dreaming up events for LISSA, our ALA student chapter. But a couple brief things about attending and presenting. Mainly I wish I’d done more of it sooner. I’m starting my second/final year of library school right now and it feels like everything has gone so quickly! Last year I attended the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) meeting and presented a poster, went to ALA in New Orleans, and went to several little talks and mini-conferences at UNCG. The big conferences were good, but I think the little things can be just as useful, especially when you’re supporting a smallish community like at a school. They definitely helped me stay in the loop about what was going on at our library. I’m going to the North Carolina Library Association (NCLA) meeting in October, which I think will be a good experience.
As far as presenting goes, I tend to get more comfortable with it the more I do it. In fact, the most comfortable I’ve ever been standing up in front of people was during the time I was teaching a community college English class and had to do it several days a week. So I guess what I’m saying is that for me, it’s more like training for a marathon than riding a bike. When I stop for awhile, I get rusty. But when I do it over and over again, I get better. I have two library-related presentations coming up that I’m excited about: I’m going to do a class on feminism in libraries for a friend’s women’s studies class, and I’m going to do a talk on libraries in the twenty-first century for an unconference in one of the student living-learning communities. I’m excited about both of those because I like working with undergrads.
I feel like I’ve recently jumped into the deep end of event organizing by becoming an officer for LISSA. We’re trying to make our monthly meetings focus on professional development topics like volunteering, attending conferences, developing a web presence, CVs and cover letters, etc. That involves bringing in speakers and panels and getting students interested in attending. One of the big challenges is that we have a lot of students who live half an hour or more from campus and have families and full-time jobs, so it’s hard for them to come all the way here for events like that. I guess what I’m finding is that it’s important to figure out what your audience wants out of an event and the try to figure out a way to deliver–but it’s difficult when they have a lot of different needs! In addition to meetings we’re also planning social gatherings, tours, things like that. I’m enjoying planning these events so far and I hope I get better at it throughout the semester!
Thing 16: Advocacy
Library advocacy warms my heart and I feel quite ashamed to admit that I haven’t done much of it. I had never seen the ALA Advocacy Resource Page before and it has a lot of excellent resources. In fact, the wheels in my head are turning right now about organizing some kind of advocacy event for our student association! But I think there are also a lot of ways to do subversive kinds of library advocacy, which I feel like I’m getting prepared for right now. For example, I think you could see good library instruction as a kind of advocacy. Quality library instruction that really helps students (I’m thinking academic library here) will do two big things: get students to think of the library as a helpful, welcoming place where they’ll want to return for the rest of their lives, and prove to administration that the library is a dynamic, integral part of the campus community. I’ve noticed that the librarians at UNCG are doing a lot of embedded work: team teaching entire semester courses with faculty, teaching for-credit “university studies” courses, holding office hours in dorms…those are all great ways to reach students in new ways and advocate for the library.
Thing 14: Research and Citation Tools
I tried out Zotero for this one and I really like it! I thought it only did citations so I’ve avoided it in the past, but it looks like a great way to organize research from website and databases. I especially like that it will bring up pdfs. I’ll definitely use it during paper-writing season.