Knower Testimonials

As part of their award, Knower Fund recipients are encouraged to provide the chapter with a brief synopsis of their conference or internship experience. 


From Rachel Korman, 2014 Knower Fund Conference Travel award recipient:

Read more about Rachel in her SLA blog post about what she hopes to learn at the SLA 2014 Conference in Vancouver.


From Siobhan Cerny , 2013 Knower Fund Conference Travel award recipient:

SLA 2013 was a whirlwind event. There were so many activities, between the sessions, open houses, receptions and the IT dance party, squeezed into three wonderful days at the conference. I already knew SLA was a great community of people, who care about one another, and the profession, but being able to attend the conference and see this before my own eyes is almost indescribable. I was happy to meet and exchange experiences with people from all over the world, which as a library student, not many pre-professionals get to do.

Being a first-timer, when I arrived in San Diego, I felt very overwhelmed by the conference. The First Timer’s Social was a great ice-breaking event, because along with meeting other first-timers, I also met SLA Fellows and those running for leadership positions within SLA. Making those bonds really helped me for the rest of the conference. I felt more comfortable and when I saw a familiar face later during the conference, I was able to approach that person  or a group with a smile and my pocket-guide and ask “Hi! What looks good [in the program] this session?”

Another event that I enjoyed attending was the First Five Years event.  This event was for people who were in the first five years of their profession. Even though I am still technically a student, it was great to meet that group because many of them were around my age. It was nice to hear how they got started in their jobs and it calmed my nerves about what was going to happen post-graduation!

I am so thankful to have had the chance to attend the conference. San Diego is an amazing city; the people and weather are so wonderful.  I wouldn’t have been able to have the opportunity to attend the conference without the support of our Philadelphia chapter. Thank you for sending me, and four of my classmates.  We are forever grateful!


From Erin DeFord , 2013 Knower Fund Conference Travel award recipient:

I am so grateful to have been able to attend the SLA conference in San Diego this year.  This was my first professional conference and probably the most exposure at one time to a career in special librarianship.  The most beneficial aspect of the conference, for me, was networking.  I met people from all over the globe in all aspects of librarianship, and they all love their jobs!  Before the conference I felt unsure about my career path because I have many interests, but seeing the broad definition of a librarian in action quelled my fear of uncertainty.

For a first timer, I think the most important event I attended was the First Timer’s Social on Saturday night.  It was helpful to meet people who, like me, were new to this amazing experience.  The people I met on that night, I feel, were some of the most supportive throughout the duration of the conference.

The Philadelphia Chapter of SLA has done so much for the Drexel Students and we are so grateful!  I talked with many people who were surprised that there were five Drexel students in attendance, all made possible by our own Philadelphia Chapter.  This opportunity has made me realize the level of support a professional society can provide to its members and the importance of being an active, involved member.


From Marrette Pearsall , 2013 Second Quarter Knower Fellowship award recipient:

I completed my internship at the Philadelphia branch of law firm Blank Rome LLP.  During the first meeting with the library professionals (the library director, the research specialist, and the electronic services librarian) I was told that I would be treated as though I were already a librarian and given similar work to them and expected to deliver professional work.  From there I knew I had picked the right place for a practical learning experience.

The main project I worked on for the quarter was to develop content for the firm’s intranet.  This required some basic research, data entry, and writing on my part. I wasn’t placed in front of a computer and given busy work; I got to see the decisions that went into completing this project, the meetings with other departments, and get feedback on what I did. The librarians also invited me to professional development seminars and social events with other law librarians.

Taking advantage of every learning opportunity I could, I also shadowed the technical service professionals that worked in the library and saw how the invoices are processed, the work that goes into managing content for the library, dealing with publication subscription issues, and other tasks that help the library run smoother.  I also talked to the IT department to find out how they approach projects and see how they work on a project with the library from the programming side.

Everyone I talked to at Blank Rome were very nice and open to sharing their work experience and knowledge with me and I feel as though I know more about the field of law librarianship and have walked away with great practical skills.


From Marrette Pearsall , 2013 Knower Fund Conference Travel award recipient:

People in picture from left to right- Maeryn Obley, Erin DeFord, Catherine Monte, Mary Newman, Siobhan Cerny, Kate Masterson, and Marrette Pearsall. People in picture from left to right- Maeryn Obley, Erin DeFord, Catherine Monte, Mary Newman, Siobhan Cerny, Kate Masterson, and Marrette Pearsall.

The location of San Diego was a great choice. The city is beautiful and the weather was lovely, especially after experiencing the humidity and high temperatures of the Mid Atlantic area. The first session I attended was probably the most useful one; the Government Information division’s “Networking for Wallflowers.” I am so glad I went to this session, because I am a bit of an introvert and knew I would be uncomfortable networking during the following days of the conference.

During the session the speakers suggested things like wearing your name tag high up, close to you face, so that your name is visible; getting ribbons that represent your interests like SLA division ribbons or prominently displaying your “first timer’s” ribbon; and talking to anyone with a “speaker” ribbon.

Two tips stood out the most.  The first tip was to just walk up to anyone and start talking, whether it be a group of people or an individual, just talk to few attendees.  Librarians, in general, are nice and friendly people, so we should not be afraid to approach each other. So instead of awkwardly standing there alone, walk up to someone and introduce yourself. The second, and just as important, bit of advice another session attendee gave, “If you are in a group and you see someone else standing there with no one to talk to, invite them into your conversation.”  Throughout the rest of the conference I followed those two tips and ended up meeting a lot of interesting people and had some funny and informative conversations.

I am not an information professional just yet so I did not strategize or collaborate with others, but I did get to connect.  I attended division open houses and board meetings to learn more about other divisions, stopped at pretty much every booth in the expo hall and came away with a lot of great ideas, websites, business cards, and useful information.  I am so grateful to the Philadelphia Chapter of the SLA for helping me attend the 2013 annual conference and I am happy that I am a member of a chapter that includes and supports its student members.


From Allison DeWeerd , 2012 Knower Fund award recipient:

SLA's conference was in Chicago this year


Hi folks, this is Allison.

Chrystelle Browman and I attended the SLA conference in Chicago last week and it was an amazing experience. I strongly encourage anyone who has the opportunity to participate in a conference for library professionals, whether it's SLA, ALA, or PLA to do so. The week left me with optimism and renewed vigor for my chosen career path.

A few of the sessions I attended were quite interesting and informative, but I think the most valuable thing I gained from attending was the opportunity to network. Being surrounded by more seasoned professionals who are passionate about their careers was inspiring and educational. Many are eager to provide students with insight into their careers and the paths they followed to get there.

The most important take away I got from this trip is that as a new professional it is important to not have too narrow a scope on where you would like to work. Librarians are needed in diverse settings; law firms, zoos, chemical manufacturing companies, museums etc. As a new information professional, being aware of and open to pursuing work opportunities in a range of environments is certainly advantageous.

The "Bean" in Millennium Park


Your prior educational or professional experience may be a factor in choosing what kind of library job you would like to pursue, but it shouldn't place a limitation on exploring career opportunities outside of your comfort zone.


From Chrystelle Browman , 2012 Knower Fund award recipient:

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend SLA Chicago. Not only did I meet a lot of great people, ranging in expertise, experience and career choice, it broadened my own career aspirations. It was a great supplement for the lack of discussion concerning special libraries in the classroom. Traditional (and current) library curriculum focuses on public and academic librarianship with little discourse offered beyond these career paths.

This is one reason I value my membership with the SLA – it has offered knowledge of the myriad of options I have with my pending degree. For example, I could become a librarian for nationally known non-profit or a client services manager for a well renowned publisher or work as an analyst for the military. While I was somewhat aware of these types of positions, these possibilities became more within reach the more I spoke with fellow attendees. Previous to the conference, I would have not had considered any of these possibilities due to lack of awareness. Moreover, it was important to learn about different titles other than “librarian”.

SLA Chicago conference instilled a confidence in my career path (and subsequently myself) I had not experienced prior to attending. Part of this newly found assurance was due to the exposure of possible career opportunities; however, most of it was due to the acceptance of this vast library community.  Everyone I met was interested, and seemed vested, in my success as an information professional. At every networking event someone offered to look over my resume, gave me valuable advice or wanted to establish a long lasting professional relationship. I would have never understood the value in professional community had I not attended this marvelous event.

After coming back, I am determined to participate and serve within the SLA community. I now truly understand the value of this association. It propels the library & information profession forward. After graduating, I am especially interested in helping future library students find their footing and to pay forward the generosity that has been bestowed upon me.

Thank you so much to the Philadelphia Chapter for busting their bums year after year to ensure students have this great opportunity. The library community will benefit from your dedication.

--Chrystelle Browman