ALA Annual 2009 - Conference Report

By American Library Association Student Chapter

San Jose State University - The NMRT Student Chapter of the Year Award was not only an honor for our chapter, but also for our school’s program as a whole. Thanks to the funding provided through the award, as well as additional support from our school and involvement in the ALA Student-to-Staff Program, four officers from San Jose State University’s American Library Association Student Chapter were able to attend the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago: Abby Dansiger, Heather Devine, David Gross, and Amanda Grundmann. We used our funding for registration, travel expenses, and transportation in Chicago. We also allocated a percentage of the matching funds from our school to be used for a group celebration dinner, enjoying a lovely evening in Chicago’s Chinatown at Lao Sze Chuan. This was a great evening for us—two of our officers had recently graduated, and this evening provided a last chance for us to spend some time together and discuss ideas for the future of our chapter. We were also excited that our wonderful advisor, Debbie Fairs, was able to join us as well.

Our officers attended a variety of different sessions. David Gross, last year’s co-chair and webmaster, will be teaching graduate library students in the fall and enjoyed attending presentations on supporting millennial students and connecting with college students in an academic library. He also attended several poster sessions about aspects of information literacy instruction and its assessment, one of his research interests. Amanda Grundmann, our chapter’s treasurer, will be graduating in December and plans to work as an academic librarian. She attended a session on First Year Experience programs and a forum about applying research to instruction practice. She also attended a session on tips for finding an academic librarian job, which is both timely and helpful as she begins her job search. Heather Devine, last year’s chair, is interested in library technology and attended several sessions from LITA, including the Social Software Showcase. She is also an active member of the American Indian Library Association and enjoyed their program on Urban Indian Culture Keepers. Abby Dansiger, last year's newsletter editor and this year's Chair, is interested in learning about new developments in cataloging, since organization of information is one of her main interests in library and information science. At the ACRL/Arts anniversary reception, Abby had the chance to meet a book artist and librarian who spoke about improving access to artist book collections, which tied in well with Abby's experience from a previous session on RDA.

In addition to attending programs and sessions, our officers also found a number of excellent opportunities for networking, such as “Conference 101” sessions, the reception for the Freedom to Read Foundation, and the NMRT Awards Reception. The ALASC officers also enjoyed exploring the exhibits areas, where they found new reading materials, learned about vendors, and met some of their favorite authors.

All of the officers agree that attending the ALA conference provided an important opportunity to grow professionally, both as current students and recent graduates. Many of us made valuable networking connections at sessions, and also at social events. Due to the size of ALA, it was also invaluable to be there as a group, providing camaraderie and support to one another—especially for the two first-time attendees! We would like to express our thanks and appreciation to the NMRT Student Chapter of the Year Award Committee for their recognition and support. We all enjoyed our time in Chicago and found our attendance at the conference to be very rewarding.