Re: My Experience at #SLA2014

I have just returned from the SLA 2014 Annual Conference held in the beautiful city of Vancouver, BC from June 8-10, 2014. Perhaps it’s the post-conference adrenaline rush, but I am feeling more educated and inspired already!

Speaking of inspiration, sparked by one of the sessions I attended, below, you will see an infographic of my exciting adventures during the conference! (You, too, can make your own free infographic via Piktochart!)

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Over the span of 3 days, I connected with many interesting individuals I didn't know before, attended a number of networking events, presentations, and vendor/aggregator demos, and collected a LOT of library-related “swag". For my first time to a big conference like this one hosted by SLA, I left feeling pretty accomplished.

If I learned anything at all, it came down to these 4 things:

  1. The importance and how-to of networking
  2. The need to have a broad scope and flexibility as an information professional
  3. How to create and maintain a professional presence in the Information Age
  4. How to conduct efficient and effective meetings

(Honourable Mention: How to use Twitter through practical, hands-on experience - if you follow me on Twitter @megscellany, you'll notice that majority of my Tweets were about #SLA2014.)

These are all useful things to know as an MLIS student transitioning to professional! I could make a lengthy write-up based on my notes from the conference, but I'm going to hold off until I learn even more about these topics.

To start off with #1 on my list, I am very excited to be presenting a talk on Tuesday, July 15th entitled, "How to Network (on Purpose) and Why You Should" in a series called the GRC Presents. I will be covering what I learned from the SLA Conference and other networking events and sessions, and sharing this information with my peers! I will definitely be posting a blog entry shortly following my presentation, so please look forward to that!

The GRC (Graduate Resource Centre) is the library within my faculty's building that serves mainly the graduate students of the MA/PhD (in Media Studies or Popular Music and Culture),

MAJ, MHIS, and MLIS programs at the University of Western Ontario. The GRC Presents series talks are generally held on Tuesdays, and free admission is offered to faculty, students, and staff of the Faculty of Media and Information Studies. I think that the series is a wonderful program hosted by the GRC as an opportunity for students to learn and share what they have learned!

The thing is that there are actually so many opportunities out there for you to develop yourself professionally and expand your horizons, but you just have to put the effort into finding them! Attending the SLA 2014 Annual Conference was a great addition to the final months of my MLIS program - especially when it came to networking, and I hope to possibly join everyone next year in Boston, MA! We hear very little about networking in our classes, and there just isn't enough emphasis on how important it is. I met some amazing people over the course of the 3 days, but they all had a lot to offer to me, in terms of knowledge and experience, and I hope that I was able to do the same for them. 

It's almost as if until you are immersed in a sea of people working in the field, you don't get to see even half of what is out there, beyond traditional librarian roles! I am all for libraries, but our roles as information professionals are constantly changing and evolving, and we need to be open an flexible in that way as mediators of information sharing everywhere!