By Dawn Amsberry
The ALA NMRT Conference Orientation held Saturday, January 24th, at the Hyatt Regency Denver, started off with a welcome from NMRT Orientation Committee chairs, Laurie McHenry and Kate Zoellner. About fifty participants attended the orientation; many were first-time Midwinter attendees and library school students. Following the welcome, attendees participated in an ice-breaker activity which involved finding colleagues who matched particular descriptions; such as “teaches information literacy,” “uses LibraryThing,” or “is a solo librarian” (this was the hardest description to find the match—only one librarian in attendance fit the bill). The first to complete the activity received prizes and much applause.
Next, Laurel Bliss, NMRT President, spoke about the advantages of joining NMRT, as well as opportunities for serving on committees, and other NMRT events taking place at the conference. Rebecca Sullivan, co-chair of the NMRT Resume Review Service Committee, gave a pitch for this valuable service, which takes place during Midwinter and Annual, as well as via e-mail throughout the year. Attendees were treated to the inside scoop on things to do in the Denver area from Cory Lampert, a Colorado native, and member of the NMRT Local Arrangements Committee. Cory mentioned the National Western Stock Show, as well as a number of local museums, restaurants, and other attractions.
Jenifer Grady, Director of the ALA Allied Professional Association, discussed the importance of salary negotiation for library professionals, and highlighted the national librarian salary survey published by ALA. She also mentioned two certification programs sponsored by her office, one for public library administrators and one for library support staff. Jim Rettig, ALA President, entertained the audience with stories from his library career. He encouraged participants to take advantage of networking opportunities at the conference, and to get involved with the association through committee participation.
Following closing remarks from the NMRT Orientation Committee, attendees were invited to meet with representatives from other ALA sections and round tables. With new NMRT tote bags in hand, audience members departed with valuable information, as well as renewed enthusiasm for the conference.