Thursday, June 28, 2007

ALA Annual Conference

On Friday, June 22, I set off for Washington, D.C. with my colleague, Liz Evans, to attend the American Library Association's (ALA) Annual Conference. Now, this is a BIG conference--there were 28,635 people in attendance according to a press release from ALA. We had all day Saturday and Sunday to attend programs and visit the vendor exhibits. The weather was fantastic, making it a pleasure to walk between venues.

I attended the ALCTS (Association of Library Collections and Technical Services) division's Reflections on Cataloging Leadership. The speakers reflected on their own careers and made suggestions for mentoring new librarians in cataloging and technical services jobs.

  • Sheila Intner, Simmons College: love your job; be a good role model; need skills beyond cataloging (budgeting, writing); work on leadership skills: teaching training; master cataloger to mentor new librarian; earn credentials that make you effective in your job; never lie; always look for the win-win--put yourself in the other's shoes; praise others; never lie; research and write about things that better your work skills.

  • William Garrison, Syracuse University: To be a good cataloger, be a good reference librarian (Definitely!); take advantage of opportunities that come your way--even if you are afraid to make that presentation or attend that meeting; understanding the catalog is key to understanding how the library (and its data) is organized; teaching and mentoring is very important.

  • Regina Reynolds, National Serials Data Program: Learn, volunteer, stretch, grow; be visual: interfaces, presentations, manuals, etc.; you need a vision to communicate information (inspire); accountability is essential, but values should be beneficial to the public good, not beneficial to the bottom line; organizing information ahould be fun and satisfying--be creative & enjoy your work.

  • Matthew Beacom, Yale: New graduates need direction and help to become master catalogers; take advantage of "growth opportunities"; mentor and pay it forward.
  • Janet Swan Hill, University of Colorado at Boulder: Take advantage of opportunitites available to you; be willing to speak up in public; publish, write, speak; volunteer to do something & get it done; care about the work, not the status.

I agree with their suggestions for mentoring new technical services librarians. I have benefitted greatly from my mentors, and I hope I have proved to be a good mentor to the interns I have helped over the past decade.