Southern California

SLA 2019 Annual Conference: A First-timer's Experience

  • 1.  SLA 2019 Annual Conference: A First-timer's Experience

    Posted 07-30-2019 18:23
    SLA 2019 Annual Conference: A First-timer's Experience
    By: M. Roxana Cruz

    Being a recent (online) library school graduate is rough. You have to work really hard to grow
    and nurture your professional network, especially when you don't have any previous library
    experience or fall under the cliché introvert category. So what do you do? In my humble opinion,
    take a deep breath and put yourself out there. One way is by attending a library association's
    conference, like SLA 2019 Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

    As a first-time SLA conference attendee and as a person of color, I initially felt like an outsider;
    however, everyone I encountered was very friendly and welcoming and I began to feel at ease.
    The conference also held a "Fellows/First-Timers" reception on Sunday evening, which really
    helped my first-timer angst. The reception provided a relaxing environment with live music;
    drinks and hors d'oeuvres that made it easy to strike up a conversation with other new
    attendees and experienced conference goers. The conference's size was also much more
    manageable than other associations, which made it easier to run into new acquaintances and
    nurture those new connections the following days.

    I found the business meetings a great resource for meeting other librarians working in my field
    of interest, discovering new opportunities within and outside the division, and learning more
    about the work they do.

    However, the SLA divisions' business meetings and receptions were
    ticketed events that required registration at the time of check out (onsite registration was also
    available). This was confusing at the beginning because SLA also offers educational sessions
    that did not require a ticket. As a first-time attendee it was a little difficult to distinguish between
    all the different types of sessions. Plus no one wants to walk into a room and be turned away (It
    never happened, and I was actually welcomed to two sessions without a ticket).

    Another great resource at SLA are the educational sessions. As a new librarian, the "Salaries,
    Benefits, Gender Gap: Today's Work Environment" presented by AAUW (American Association
    of University Women) and hosted by the Salary Survey Task Force was of immense value to
    me. It opened my eyes to not only the pay gap between genders, but those of the same gender
    but different races. It also covered how to negotiate salary and benefit packages by using
    persuasive responses and other strategies that identify and articulate personal value. They even
    provided a template and informal hands-on practice.

    Overall, attending the SLA 2019 Annual Conference was a great personal investment. Not only was
    it a great networking and informative conference, but also it was fun (I'm sure most you have
    heard of the IT Party by now). My student membership is near its expiration date, but after
    attending this year's conference I plan to renew and continue my membership

  • 2.  RE: SLA 2019 Annual Conference: A First-timer's Experience

    Posted 08-01-2019 18:24
    Great commentary Maria on your first-timer experience! I'm so glad to hear you will continue your SLA membership. I look forward to seeing you soon!

    Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran
    Assistant Professor, School of Information
    San José State University 

    SJSU School of Information