SLA Provides a ‘Support System’ for Young Librarians

This is the fifth in a five-part series of blog posts about four recent recipients of the SLA Philadelphia Chapter’s Knower Fund Travel Award. The first post described the Knower Fund and introduced the travel award recipients; in the succeeding posts, the award recipients (1) discussed the reasons they joined SLA and the lessons they learned while attending their first SLA Annual Conference, (2) described how their SLA connections helped them make the transition from library school to the workforce, and (3) elaborated on how they continue to find value in SLA membership and especially in SLA volunteer opportunities.

In this post, the award winners offer their advice to MLIS students and new information professionals about the advantages of getting involved in SLA early in their careers.

Earlier this year, Dee Magnoni set “Experience SLA for Career Success” as the theme for her year as president of SLA. Marrette Pearsall, Chrystelle Browman, Michelle Klaw, and Erin Nagawiecki embody that theme and are the type of MLIS student that Beverly M. Knower, the namesake of the Knower Fund Travel Award, wanted to encourage to pursue careers in special libraries. All four women have benefited professionally from SLA membership and encourage other early-career librarians and MLIS students to join SLA as well.

“The benefit in joining SLA early in your career is that you get to meet other people in your profession, mentors to look up to, and peers who are going through the same experiences as you,” says Erin. “I am so proud and honored to be a part of such a wonderful group of people!”

“Joining SLA early in your education or career and staying actively involved is definitely worth the time and financial investment,” says Michelle. “As a recent MLIS graduate, my involvement in SLA and the Philadelphia Chapter has played a significant role in helping me secure my first job as an information professional and has provided me with a support system of experienced individuals who gave me the confidence to know that I can succeed.”

“Show up to chapter events,” advises Chrystelle. “Having in-person interactions with fellow chapter members will always give you a leg up on job opportunities. You are more likely to receive job and internship referrals if folks know who you are. Just show up.”

“Go to social and educational programs for any and all associations,” says Marrette. “If you are shy, face your fears and start talking to people. Did I mention, go to professional association programming?”

The first post in this series contains links to each of the succeeding posts. More information about the Beverly M. Knower Fund, including past travel award recipients and additional testimonials from award winners, can be found on the SLA Philadelphia Chapter’s website.

—Valerie J. Ryder
2016–2017 Membership Chair
SLA Philadelphia Chapter

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