Whether you are a new professional in the LIS field or one well-established in the profession, #NEWLIBSYMP17 is a hashtag on Twitter you should look up and read through.

Just last week, I had the privilege of attending the second running of the New Librarians Symposium organized by Ali Versluis (@aliversluis) and Juliene McLaughlin. The symposium is free-of-charge to attendees, comprised solely of new grads or new professionals to library science.

This year's theme was "Overcoming Obstacles", which encouraged attendees to think critically about the challenges they face as those within the early years of their careers in librarianship, while engaging in meaningful networking and collaboration.

The program consisted of several lightning talks, fast chats, a Real Talk panel, and a workshop. The lightning talks very much followed the theme, as each speaker discussed an obstacle they faced, ranging from the treacherous job hunt to "whiteness" in archives to strategies for self-care. It was all information that needed to be heard by the eager group of individuals seated before them. The fast chats were structured conversations with new professionals who weren't familiar with one another, in an attempt to exercise problem solving and active listening skills. Some problems were resolved more quickly than others and some remained unchanged, reflecting the realities of the workplace. The Real Talk panel was very... real. Some slightly less new new professionals answered some big questions floating around in the minds of many new professionals and offered honest, uncensored advice. Lastly, the workshop, facilitated by Melanie Parlette-Stewart (@mparstew) and Sajni Lacey (@LaceySajni), addressed how to confront the all-too-familiar "imposter syndrome".

In addition to the full day of programming, flip chart paper was placed along a wall in the room with questions for attendees to answer via post-it. Many wrote their own post-its, while some added a +1 or checkmark to indicate their agreement with what was said. These were the results:

Photos generously provided by Mari V (@marvellings)

Re-CALLing Vancouver

For the past 2 years, SLA has been my choice conference to attend, but this year, I opted for a new experience, and attended the CALL/ACBD Annual Conference for the first time, held in Vancouver, BC from May 15-18, 2016. While I missed out on the 2016 SLA IT Dance Party in Philly, CALL/ACBD was absolutely incredible. There is something so gratifying about being surrounded by professionals in your field, but even more so when they are all from your niche within the field. There isn't really a need to explain yourself from square one, because everyone there faces the same challenges and obstacles that you do in your everyday work.

I feel honoured to have received a bursary from the Eunice Beeson Memorial Travel Fund, to support my attendance at the CALL/ACBD AGM. Thank you very much to CALL/ACBD for your generosity!

To contrast slightly with my previous conference recaps, I wanted to include something a little different. Upon my return to the office, I was asked to produce a report summarizing my conference experience for my supervisor. This sort of thing actually isn't that uncommon. While reports may seem daunting and time-consuming, they are well worth the effort. A strong report on the conference/seminar/workshop/etc. you attended could serve as evidence to support your attendance at another one. 

While I was working to put my report together, I couldn't find a template or example that seemed to encompass all that I wished to, so I made my own. Please click on the link below to view my submitted report. My hope is that it might help you with your professional development requests in the future.

Report on Conference Attended (re CALL/ACBD 2016)

Of course, what would a conference recap be without a fun infographic? Here are some of the highlights of my CALL/ACBD 2016 experience (created via Piktochart):


For a more comprehensive look into what transpired at the conference, be sure to read the report by Judy Harvie, winner of the 2016 Calgary Law Library Group (CLLG) Education Grant.

All in all, CALL/ACBD was a very worthwhile experience and I am going to try my best to be able to attend again next year in Ottawa, when the city celebrates its 150th birthday!

Speaking publicly, whilst being truly terrified

If you've seen me talk in front of people, and you've thought that I seemed fairly calm and collected while doing so, that is really nice of you, because even just thinking about public speaking makes my palms sweat, and I know that I'm not alone.

I swear I'm not trying to perpetuate a stereotype, but I am, in fact, a socially anxious, introverted individual. I just know that outwardly appearing that way in the workplace is not going to get me to where I want to be. 

One faithful day in September, I came across a course entitled, "Public Speaking for Beginners and the Truly Terrified" instructed by one Lauren Sergy. I closed my eyes and said to myself, "here goes nothing".

Upon first meeting Lauren, the stereotypical librarian may be taken aback by the enormous surge of energy that she emits on the regular. What you end up learning, however, is that Lauren feeds off of the energy generated by her clients' growth in speaking and presenting abilities, and then redistributes that energy right back to her clients. 

Lauren tackles the monster that is public speaking into smaller bites that are easier to work with, while incorporating physiological explanations, and drowning out your fears through continued exposure by having you talk about things that matter to you. 

After a few months of that, I remain a socially anxious introvert, but I am able to take some of my nervous energy and turn it into enthusiasm, even if my brain is running a full-blown panic on the inside. I still can't say that public speaking is my favourite thing to do, but when I do it, I no longer wish for someone to pull me off the stage with one of those comically long canes. 

Honestly, if you're a nervous speaker like me or even if you just feel like your presentations could use an extra breath of life, I would highly recommend working with Lauren. 

Lauren has brought "Public Speaking for Beginners and the Truly Terrified" back for another term, and two-fold!

P.S. For my next challenge, Lauren is working with me to make one of my presentations conference-ready this year. So, look out, conference planners and goers! I'm coming for you!