From Marinda Keller (SLIM Utah):
Thank you so much for sponsoring my registration at the 2014 ALA conference in Las Vegas. I had many valuable experiences meeting with leaders in other libraries, attending beneficial workshops, and stopping by the Job Center.
I met many leaders in libraries during my time in Vegas. One woman, slightly older than myself, shared her work experience of becoming a library director after graduating with her MLIS just a few years earlier. She shared with me the challenges and importance of gaining community buy-in. Two other library workers, a librarian from Toronto, and an engineer from Houston, enlightened me on the differences between a smaller system like mine, with only 18 branches, and their larger systems with 40+ locations. I was very surprised to learn that they had security guards at their public libraries and I think the were equally shocked to hear that we did not.
I got to attend some great workshops, one in particular really made the conference worthwhile for me. It was called Care and Feeding of Teen Volunteers. As one of two Volunteer Coordinators at my branch library, and with aspirations of fostering a teen program as a librarian that aligns with the state goal to increase the number of adults with post-secondary education by preparing them as teen for college and certificate programs, I was overwhelmed by the information shared with us. The challenges discussed by the presenters align with our challenges, and the outcomes they experienced align with our goals. I am enthusiastic to build a program in my system based on their findings and research I have also conducted on the issue.
Lastly, I was able to speak with many newer librarians who are facing difficulties in the job market. One had chosen to work outside of librarianship but had self-sponsored her trip in hopes of making career contacts. Another recent graduate worked two part-time jobs in libraries, one as a cataloger in an academic library and one as support staff in a public library. She admits the situation isn’t ideal, but she is happy to be able to use her education in her work. I stopped by the Job Resources booth and picked up information for myself and my cohort about which positions are open and what employers are looking for, I also had the chance to speak personally with recruiters and hear about the candidates they recruit and challenges they are overcoming as needs and resources of libraries and vendors continue to change.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity as a student to connect with my profession. I am so grateful for your support.