Saturday, June 23, 2007

ALA Friday

It's quite different coming to ALA and being involved in committees and in presenting a poster -- up until now, I've pretty much been a passive observer of all things ALA, but now, with Sunday's poster presentation looming and today's committee meeting bonanza, my opinion of ALA and its conferences is changing.

I'll know more at the end of the day, after sitting in on a few committee meetings. I'm getting excited to see what goes on -- what do committees do? What are some products of these committees? What kind of work is involved for committee members?

Committee membership seems like it's a part of advancing a career in librarianship. I had dinner with a few very cool, very awesome librarians last night after meeting them as the Instruction Section Soiree. Jobs were a topic of conversation, and it seems that management experience and committee participation were some things that could help move librarians into positions with more responsibility. One of them commented that there are many positions for 'head of reference' opening up, but there are so few librarians out there with management experience, it's hard to find people to fill those spots.

Even if it's managing student staff, or as the chair of an ALA committee, that ability to manage effectively is desired in librarians. Where do new librarians get that kind of experience? I'm lucky -- I fell into a job running the Knowledge Navigation Center and the Faculty Exploratory, which are technology consulting facilities at the grad. We have a staff of up to 17 students, and I am the manager. However, so many of my colleagues don't have a chance to manage -- so how do they get that experience?

Committees! Where it's ALA or local, campus-specific committees, they provide that opportunity to become the chair of a committee and lead.

Anyway -- I'm doing two committee meetings at ALA today: IS Professional Education and EBSS Instruction for Educators. Starting after this conference, I will be an intern and member for those committees, respectively. I've also accepted an offer to be a member of ALA's Research committee. I'm hoping that I'll be able to learn a lot from my fellow committee members not only about the topics our committee is charged with covering, but also about being a productive committee member.

Here's my schedule for today (Saturday), if you want to meet up:

10:30 - 12:30: EBSS Instruction for Educators Committee meeting
1:30 - 3:30: IS Professional Education Committee meeting
4:00 - 5:30: Finding Environmental Information / SRRT. I forget the room number -- sorry!

This last one interest me -- I've been told it's a good idea to take something out of your own expertise, and something that just looks interesting. This one, and Monday's "The Information Behind the 'Truth'" (a look at the information in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth") are interesting, because I'm getting more and more interested in things like peak oil -- but, I don't knwo anything about navigating environmental information! Thanks, SRRT, for providing these sessions!

See you at ALA.


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