SLA Conference. Washington, DC

Here I sit in the Hotel Helix at Rhode Island and 14th trying to catch my breath after my second day of the Special Libraries Conference. There is much more going on than you could possibly fit into your day,  so you have to pick your events. They start as early as 7AM and run til after 10 pm. I am attending through the generosity of the Florida and Caribbean Chapter of SLA. I received a $1,000 from the chapter to help with conference expenses. The chapter met at Busboys & Poets restaurant on 5th St. NW (there are 2 D.C. locations) tonight. I got to meet some great people: Pam Doffek, the chapter President; Linda Sobey, current secretary; Liz Bumgarner, membership; and several other members. After the get together it was back to the conference center to the open house put on by the Solo Librarians Division and a second open house put on by the IT division. Both offered finger foods and cash bars. The IT division had a panel discussion featuring science fiction and fantasy authors. It tied right in with my Materials for Children class chapter on modern fantasy.

Earlier in the day I attended the awards ceremony for SLA students. There were three $6,000 scholarships awarded plus merit awards. There were awards for student innovation, and creative use of electronics. School chapters can win these awards. There was a panel discussion featuring special librarians. The panel including a woman who is in charge of Dialog’s graduate school program (Allison Evatt) and a solo librarian at an architectural firm. All the panelists suggested “re-purposing” and customizing your skills to work for the job description you want. Flexibility, creativity and networking will all work for you when job hunting. Many positions have a different job title than librarian but they need a librarian’s skills. Most of the panelists have found one or more of their jobs through SLA and networking (along with hard work and perseverance). They all talked about the helpfulness of other librarians.

I’m falling asleep at the wheel here. I tell you about the opening day activities including Colin Powell’s excellent speech in my next post.

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