Musings from a Student on #ALAAC16– by ALASC Regional Events Coordinator Stephanie Barnaby

You are currently viewing Musings from a Student on #ALAAC16– by ALASC Regional Events Coordinator Stephanie Barnaby

From the minute I stepped off the plane in Florida, the heat was oppressive. There were palm trees everywhere! I didn’t feel totally prepared for Orlando in the dead center of summer. The picture included here is of a gecko I saw by the hotel pool. I hadn’t seen one before and it took me the whole trip to get a picture of one. They move so fast! stephs.gecko

Back in January when I attended the Midwinter Meeting in my hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, I thought of the annual conference in Orlando something exciting to do if I could make it all work. At the Boston meeting, one of the sessions I went to was a meeting of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) and I decided to follow through with joining the membership committee of IFRT. For ALA members who don’t know: you can join the IFRT as a student member for only $5 a year.

Having attended the smaller Midwinter Meeting, the ALA Annual Conference didn’t feel as totally overwhelming as it might have been. At the annual conference I attended the business meetings for the IFRT and a couple of programs that were related. IFRT put on a program entitled “Offensive Speech, Trigger Warnings and Other Threats to Academic Freedom: What Is the Role of Academic Librarians?” It was phenomenal– interesting thoughts and discussion, insightful questions and a well air-conditioned room despite some technical difficulties. Another related program I attended was entitled “Student Privacy: The Big Picture on Big Data,” an interesting look at some of the important tangible applications of the ideals of librarianship that brought me into the profession.

Most of the meetings I attended were business meetings and most of the attendees of those meetings were also on other committees and round tables that more specifically dealt with issues highlighted by the recent violent tragedy in an Orlando nightclub. Seeing all of those people wearing armbands that showed diversity and inclusion really drove home that librarians have ideals that promote a peaceful society. I felt proud to be included in this profession.

It wasn’t all work though! I took the opportunity to visit Universal Studios and more specifically Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade of Harry Potter fame. Nothing else would have tied in so well with my love of reading and it helped make the entire trip worthwhile!