First Timers: Divisions are the Key

I wrote this in 2005 after attending my first SLA conference in Toronto:

I took the typical first-timer approach on Monday: cram everything possible into the day – programs in every available slot until 5, network with colleagues over dinner, then hit the open houses until 11. While I learned a lot in Monday sessions, things just weren’t “clicking” the way I thought they would. The networking had been OK, but in looking over business cards that night, I realized I had met a lot of people but didn’t really get to know anything about them. I had been hoping to find a few people with whom I could really make a connection.

My division breakfast meeting on Tuesday turned out to be just what I was looking for. I felt like I had found my place – a group with similar roles and work environments that I could really relate to. The combination of new professionals finding their place and seasoned professionals offering advice lead to deeper conversations and as a result, better connections.

In my experience since that conference, I’ve realized that it is the Chapters that keep you involved during the year, but the Divisions that make the conference work.  For me, finding a closely-knit group in the midst of 5,000 librarians made all the difference!

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