The Value of Saying Yes

By Kelly Quaye


Perhaps Midwinter 2012 was your first conference? Perhaps, like me, it was your third? Have you already lost track of how many times you've been advised to "get involved" and "just say, 'yes'"? This is sound advice. ALA Annual 2010 was my first conference and I failed to heed the advice of those well established within the profession, who spoke during the NMRT Orientation Session: Camila Alire, John Chrastka, Courtney Young, Jenifer Grady, and other NMRT committee members. Everything about that conference was entirely overwhelming to me. Blinded as I was by the sheer scale of the event, I overlooked the fact that NMRT offered me a great place to begin "getting involved."

NMRT offers so many great starting points for those new to the profession and/or ALA. One piece of advice I have found really useful is to volunteer during conferences.  I now typically volunteer at the career placement center, or during NMRT's resume review service sessions. This is a great way to meet new people and it offers an opportunity to connect with people you may not otherwise have the chance to talk with. I was recently selected as a 2012 Emerging Leader, and I believe this was in part due to connections I established during ALA Annual 2010 and ACRL 2012.

Last year I decided my new year's resolution would be to say "Yes" to more things, more often. I am not advocating saying "Yes" to potentially dangerous or harmful activities, but taking a risk and doing something a little out of your comfort zone can feel pretty liberating and empowering. In the past, I have typically hesitated when asked to volunteer and commit my time, but saying "Yes" has led to rewarding results in both my personal and professional life. I recently joined a local group for librarians, library students, and the library-curious. I attended my first meeting not knowing anyone, but when asked if I could help plan the next monthly event, I said, "Yes." I've since become their Events Co-organizer. The words you read now are the product of my saying "Yes" when the call for articles for this issue of NMRT Footnotes came out, even though I wasn't sure at the time what I would write about. I also just finished responding to the call for volunteers for NMRT committees for 2012-2013, by completing the online volunteer form. I hesitated for a while when considering question four, "Are you willing to chair an NMRT committee?” In the spirit of saying "Yes" to new opportunities and challenges, I answered, "Yes!" I have finally learned that the old cliché, "You get out what you put in," is so true. Saying "Yes" has really been a change of mindset for me. Try it sometime and see how you do.