Professional Me!

This past week I got the chance to take a week off of school and work to do my first real bit of professional development– going to WLA (the Wisconsin Library Association Conference).  This came at a really great time in the semester (see last post) and was succeeded in building up my motivation to finish school and get a job!

warning: the following may contain a bit of cockiness and a high level of self confidence

Tuesday morning Caitlin, Dorothy and I set off to go to a pre-conference all about youth services.  For Caitlin and I this was our first library conference and it was reasurring to be with someone who had gone through this before.  Dorothy was able to answer some of our general questions like: will the shwag be good from the vendors? is my pencil skirt too dressy? what day should I wear my orange blazer?– you know all the important stuff.  Anyways, the pre-conference was basically just an idea sharing time and we were three of five students among the actual working librarians in the room.  Half of the afternoon was spent in small sessions discussing a specific topic.  Caitlin and I ended up in the same group talking about bringing non-users into the library.  Other topics were school-library partnerships, early literacy, and youth services advocacy.

The three of us left the conference on Tuesday feeling energized and excited for what the next three days will bring.  We were joined by Peter later that evening and we all started devouring our conference packets figuring out which sessions we wanted to attend.

Wednesday started out eventful with an energizing keynote speaker, some interesting topics on twitter using the wla12 hashtag, and some really great coffee.  My first session (and yes, I wore the orange blazer the first day) was spent in “speed networking” in which we had a couple minutes with each person in the room.  During this session Dorothy, Caitlin, and I each got to meet and talk with MPL’s new library director Greg Mickells.

The excitement and energy we started with stayed throughout the rest of the conference while we dazzled, shined, and rocked the socks off of networking, socializing, learning, and impressing.  We were joined by Eleanor and Jacob on Wednesday and they joined us in making our program look great.

Caitlin, Eleanor, Dorothy and I went to a “tweet crawl” in downtown La Crosse on Thursday evening where we had homemade nametags that were quite a hit and continued our socializing.

I took away some valuable lessons from my first ever library conference and my only regret is that more of my classmates did no join.  I may be working extra hard this week to catch up on homework but what I learned and took away from WLA is invaluable to my future as a children’s librarian.

Some tidbits from my week at WLA:

“the glitter has purpose”
“life is more exciting when you raise your hand”
“I don’t know everything, but I really want to learn”
Show your passion! Have enthusiasm!
Human Kind- Be both (Wakanheza Project– look it up)
Maybe I should take cataloging next semester
I asked three different people when I should start applying for jobs and got three different answers.
The LAX public library director told Eleanor, Dorothy, Caitlin and I that we made the conference for her
The four of us girls were told on Friday afternoon that we will be the movers and the shakers of this profession

If you are a SLISer and would like to take a glance at my notes or want more information feel free to ask! I also know that there is talk about us doing a brown-bag about WLA and going to conferences and networking in the nearest future.

Oh, and P.S. I got some compliments on my business card and was super excited to hand them out all week.  I felt so prepared!

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