Monday, December 3, 2012

WLA Redux Part 1

 Many thanks to Monica LaVold, the youth services librarian in River Falls, for this thoughtful guest post!  Whether you are new in your job or well-seasoned, I think you'll enjoy reading about her perspectives on attending the Wisconsin Library Association Conference.  Watch for Part 2 tomorrow!
Monica, geeking out as only a children's librarian can with Good Night Moon artwork while visiting the Kerlan Collection at the University of MN

I attended the WLA conference in LaCrosse as a first-time attendee, in my first library job. It was really my first professional conference since my college years, since, in my previous life as a teacher, I had not been able to attend any of the education conferences. So, I went into this with a lot of uncertain expectation and what I would call a “we’ll see what happens” attitude.

                One thing that was very important to me about going to this conference, and probably one of my personal reasons for attending was the chance to meet other librarians around the state that were doing the same thing I am. Being new to being a librarian, and new to Wisconsin, I think it is super easy to get overwhelmed with the job and to feel isolated. We have a wealth of resources and access to all kinds of ideas through blogs and listservs, and yet nothing I have found can really take the place of face-to-face meetings and making real live connections with others in your field.

                That said, I decided that I needed to make the Youth Services Information Exchange Preconference a priority for me.   I’m so glad I did!  The session was attended by around 40 Youth Services people from all over the state, and for me it was a chance to sit back and listen to what issues and ideas libraries were facing and spending time and energy on. Because I am so new, I wanted to get a feel for concerns and areas of pride that some veteran librarians highlighted. One thing that I felt from this session is that I am lucky to have come to a state like Wisconsin, because even with budget cuts and technology issues, we seem to have a richness of library support and a number of communities willing to work to have great libraries.

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