3M/NMRT Award Essay
by Katie Dunneback
I would like to thank both the 3M Company and the 3M/NMRT Leadership Award committee for giving me the opportunity to attend the Annual Conference in Anaheim. It feels as this award is recognition for what I've accomplished during my first five years as a professional librarian as well as a kick in the pants to the next level of leadership. I've spent the last two weeks attempting to digest everything that happened at the conference and I still feel like I am coming up short. I was able to pack a lot in, but I wish I could have cloned myself so I could have attended even more programs and spend more time with the professional contacts and friends I've made over the years. Having arrived in town a few days early, I was able to spend some time touring the Los Angeles area with a good friend I hadn't seen in years, as well as have dinner on Thursday with some good friends from my readers' advisory circle.
I began my conference activities on Saturday with the NMRT Orientation session. I could only stay for a little while since I had scheduled myself as the Resume Review Service's greeter at 9 am, but I participated in the icebreaker bingo game by helping a number of people fill in squares on their game boards. Before long it was time for me to head off to the Placement Center to begin my greeting duties. I was scheduled for an hour time-slot and a great number of people showed up to make appointments to have their resumes reviewed. In between taking appointments I met with one conference attendee and reviewed her resume. I've always found it fascinating to look at resumes when I'm on a search committee and I'm happy to pass on the knowledge I've gained through those experiences. After my stint as greeter, I met with my conference mentor Patrick. It was very interesting to speak with him as he was able to give me some insight on an academic library consortium in another region that is currently topic of concern in my area. After parting ways I decided to visit the exhibit hall as a fact finding sortie. After touching base with various publishing contacts of mine and locating the 3M booth for my visit later in the conference I ended up in the ALA Member Pavilion where I spoke with a fellow NMRT member. We discussed career planning, both in librarianship and fiction writing.
My parents were in town; both for the conference, since my mother is also librarian, and to see me receive my award on Sunday. I had a nice lunch with them on Saturday before I had to hurry back to the Convention Center for my afternoon of programs. The 1:30 pm slot on Saturday afternoon was the time I most wished to have a clone. My two greatest professional interests, readers' advisory and technology, conflicted and I ended up attending the Fall Adult Books preview for HarperCollins, which meant I missed the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase. The book preview was fabulous; I was able to further strengthen my relationship with the library marketing representatives of HarperCollins, and thanks to the BIGWIG format, I was able to act as a virtual presenter for them with a recorded presentation I had before to the conference.
Almost immediately after the HarperCollins preview was a program I had been looking forward to attending: “Science Fiction and Fantasy: Looking at Information Technology and the Information Rights of the Individual.” The slate of speakers was led by well-known speaker and author Cory Doctorow. I thought this panel was absolutely fabulous and I learned a lot from each of the speakers. Brian Sanderson, the fantasy author who will be completing Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, was especially timely as I was in the middle of preparing a class on the Fantasy genre and he gave me some insights I had not previously been exposed to. I finished off the day with the ALA/ProQuest Scholarship Bash at Disneyland.
Sunday began bright and early for me. My day started with the RUSA Literary Tastes Breakfast. This was especially meaningful for me having previously served on the committee for one of the awards celebrated, the Reading List. To see this award receive the recognition it deserves was marvelous. After the breakfast finished I made my way over to the exhibit hall where I was interviewed by 3M, discussing what impact winning the award has had on me. I looked forward to seeing both my videos and the videos of the previous winners that were also interviewed. I had signed up to participate in the ALA Big Game, but I was so busy on Saturday that I didn't spend much time working on it. Sunday I paired up with a few of my teammates and we were able to help lead our team to victory with movie scene recreations and strategic land grabs. I stopped in on the ALA Booklist Adult Books Readers' Advisory Forum Sunday afternoon, but was a bit disappointed as it was not what I had expected. After giving myself some time in my room to mentally recoup, I headed off to the 3M/NMRT Social for a night of fun and frivolity. The timing of winning this award couldn't have been any better as I was able to receive it from one of my very best friends since graduate school, NMRT Past President Nanette Donohue. This year's social lived up to its well-deserved reputation of being one of the top parties to be at.
Monday was my day to hit the exhibits and I made the rounds speaking with a number of vendors and picking up more books. I swear no matter how much I resist I'm a magnet for them! I also spent time with the people at 3M learning more about their products and thanking them again for this wonderful opportunity. Monday night was spent relaxing with my parents and preparing ourselves for the flight home the next day.
Tuesday I had a little time to touch base with those I missed seeing on Monday so I could say goodbye. There is never enough time at conferences to spend as much quality time as one would want with all of the people you know, most of those people being ones you know only virtually.
I give many thanks to both 3M and NMRT for the opportunity to attend the Annual Conference this year. The time I spent in Anaheim was magnificent and I feel blessed to have been honored with this award.