SLA 2014: Reflections of a Former Non-Joiner

Here’s the next post in our occasional series from members who’ll be going to Vancouver for SLA 2014, from Chelsea Shriver of the Western Canada Chapter.  Read additional member posts here.

I haven’t always been a “joiner.” A helper, yes, but I’ve typically preferred to do my helping in the background—quietly, unobtrusively, without much want or need of acknowledgement. In a previous life, I was the manager of an academic center that offered a master’s degree in public humanities. I interacted with and watched graduate students pursuing their studies for more than six years before finally taking the leap and enrolling in library school myself. During that time, the most important lesson I learned from the many students who passed through the program was this: Get Involved. Getting involved in projects, activities, and professional communities and associations meant the difference between a rewarding and fulfilling graduate experience and one where all you had to show for two years of effort was a piece of paper.

So when I came to the iSchool@UBC, against all my natural inclinations toward shyness and introversion, I set for myself the goal of becoming a joiner. I realized quickly that being an information professional is all about joining—about getting involved and staying involved. It is part of our professional ethos and what makes us valuable to our communities. My involvement with the UBC student chapter of SLA has provided me with opportunities to make meaningful connections with amazing student and professional colleagues.

Now as graduation from library school looms ever-nearer, the time has come to push myself a bit further—beyond my now-familiar student and local professional communities. It’s time to get involved on a larger scale and to find my place as a joiner and a helper within the national and international library communities. I believe that attending the SLA 2014 Annual Conference will help me to find that place by providing a wonderful opportunity to meet future colleagues, to absorb a wealth of new information, and to take part in the discussions and conversations that will shape the future of our profession. I am particularly looking forward to attending sessions on copyright, digitization, digital humanities, effective patron outreach, open data, the changing role of the information professional…well, everything really.

My next goal is to become not just a joiner, but a contributor and, hopefully, an asset to our professional community. I believe that attending the SLA 2014 Annual Conference will be my first step toward achieving that goal.

Early bird registration for SLA 2014 ends TODAY, April 11.  Sign up now!

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