“On the Road Again”
One of the things I love the most about my job as a GSA is that I have the opportunity to travel to various LIS events and connect with people in the field. Earlier this month I had the honor to represent SLIS at the 2013 Recruiting Tomorrows Library Leaders Summer Leadership Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. The event was sponsored by the Atlanta University Center which comprises of Clark Atlanta University, The Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spellman College. Additional sponsors were Bennett College, Dillard University, and Johnson C. Smith University. It took place inside of the newly renovated Robert W. Woodruff Library/Virginia Lacey Jones Exhibition Hall. The session in which I participated was aptly titled “Pursuing Librarianship: Graduate School and Professional Opportunities”. Of course I was nervous; this was my second speaking engagement, the first to take place outside of Michigan. Nevertheless, my nervousness was all in vain as everything fell perfectly into place.
Here’s how it went down…the first set of panelists discussed the ins and outs of the archives profession. The second set discussed the ins and outs of librarianship as a whole; both were followed by brief Q & A sessions. Shortly afterwards we began a case study surrounding ethics and how they relate to library rules and regulations. This particular case focused on a group of fictional students who supported a “Half-Naked-Half Hour Library Session” in which students would occupy a certain library for 1 half hour partially dressed. Participating students debated the pros and cons of allowing such activities on a college campus.
As the final leg of the event encroached, representatives from several participating schools and institutions including the University of Pittsburgh, the Smithsonian, the University of North Texas and of course Wayne State spent a few moments discussing their LIS programs including admissions, the application process, courses, internships, scholarships and various other funding opportunities. In addition we were allowed to set up display tables in which students were provided with information packets, business cards, and other school paraphernalia. I was elated to have several students approach me with questions about program tracks, student employment and funding opportunities… naturally I eagerly obliged them!
When the information sessions were completed select students were chosen to present papers on information specialists they previously interviewed (What Makes a Leader?). Shortly afterwards, the program came to a close.
My consensus is…the experience was well worth-while. Not only did I get a chance to connect with potential students, the AUC Director Loretta Parham, and other representatives including Maurice Wheeler (former Director of the Detroit Public Library). This was a great event and my participation forced me to step outside of my comfortable realm of solitude and develop leadership skills, provide information to other students and network with professionals!
The overall purpose of this event was to attract talented and ambitious undergraduate students to the field of library and information science and promote leadership …Mission accomplished!