Reflections: 2018 ALA Annual Conference

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  • Post category:ALASC News

Photo is of five of our very own ALASC board members at the ALA Poster Session: (Left to Right) Janelle Peck (Secretary/Archivist), Stephanie Barnaby (Chair), Rachel Silverstein (Virtual Events Coordinator), Joyce Peng (Social Media Manager), and David Fournier (Treasurer).

Post written by Joyce Peng, our Social Media Manager!

I attended the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans from June 21 to June 26. I represented SJSU in ALA’s Student-to-Staff Program. My assignment as a Student-to-Staff participant was to work for PLA by helping to monitor and set up its programs. I worked six sessions in total. My main tasks were to pass out and collect evaluations, take attendance, assist presenters in any technical difficulties, and to take notes of the presentations.

The PLA staff were very welcoming to me and told me that they were appreciative of my help. Working for PLA events allowed me to gain a better insight into how PLA organizes programs at huge conferences and to meet PLA division leaders. I also had the chance to network with other S2S participants at the ALA President reception one night.

Besides Student2Staff duties, I enjoyed meeting and networking with four other members of our chapter (ALASC), along with Dr. Hirsh, other SJSU iSchool students, and SJSU faculty members. I attended the SJSU reception and heard a few poster session presentations from fellow SJSU students. Throughout my conference, I met with several library professionals and learned about their library institutions and their jobs.

During my spare time between Student2Staff duties, I went to several conferences sessions that interested me. One was about intellectual freedom in the workplace and how to navigate between access vs. expression. Another was about best practices for creating library marketing videos.

I also pushed myself to go to sessions that were outside of my expertise area. I knew little about youth services, especially regarding children and families, so I attended a session that talked about how to conduct early literacy outreach to underserved and unserved families. That session was fascinating to me! There were libraries who were conducting storytime in laundromats, food pantries, and New York City jails, and this made me marvel at all of the possible innovations libraries can achieve.

Besides attending sessions, I got my resume reviewed, spend time in the exhibition hall, and got to attend a PLA member breakfast.

This was my first time attending ALA Annual and my first time attending any library conference. Although it was overwhelming at times and the weather was very humid and hot, I had a great conference experience. Most people I met were very welcoming and friendly, and I really enjoyed meeting fellow library school students and hearing about their work and their careers. Learning about what other libraries are doing across the world was inspiring to me and gave me new ideas that I can use going forward in my library career.

I am so appreciative of the SJSU iSchool for providing me with funding this year. Thank you!