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Jul 17 / Christine Illichmann

Shatha Baydoun Reflects on ALA Student-to-Staff Experience

Shatha Baydoun (far right) is seen here with ALA president Loida Garcia-Febo and fellow Student-to-Staff participants.

Shatha Baydoun is an MLIS student in the School of Information Sciences. Her projected graduation is May 2018. In this post, Shatha shares her recent experience in the ALA Student-to-Staff program.

There are few occasions in one’s career that are ground-breaking and being selected to represent WSU as a Student-to-Staff (S2S) at ALA’s annual conference was such an occasion for me. Between June 21-26, I partook in my first conference as an information science student at New Orleans. I was surprised that some ALA members did not know about the S2S program. Briefly, the program was designed in 1973 as an opportunity for students to network and interact with professionals in the field. I was assigned to the International Relations Office (IRO), a division of ALA, devoted to global communities and libraries.

True to its mission, my experience with the S2S program was very informative and productive. At times, the sheer breadth and size of the conference was overwhelming, but the adage about librarians being the most helpful bunch is true. I was supported, mentored, and directed by all the wonderful librarians at the conference who were happy to welcome a recently-graduated librarian to the fold.

Despite my short trip, I also saw and met amazing people. I witnessed Michelle Obama officially open the ALA ceremony and I met the newly-elects ALA president Loida Garcia-Febo. I also take part in some of ALA’s Job Placement workshops like the ones on salary negotiation and resume-writing. As a new MIS graduate, these workshops were very useful to me. On a personal note, I got to savor New Orleans’ local flavors such as the famous beignets and chicory coffee. I also got to party with my S2S fellow students. In short, I learned a lot but got to have tons of fun in the process.