Student Connection Column

Sponsored by the NMRT Student and Student Chapter Outreach Committee (SASCO)
By Nikki Wright, Assistant Engineering Librarian and Assistant Professor of Library Administration, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

In just a few short weeks, tens of thousands of people will be gearing up for the trip to the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference in Washington, DC. Whether you are attending this year for the first time or have not made plans to attend yet, the members of SASCO wanted to devote this month's feature to sharing information about attending ALA's annual conference through the Student to Staff Program.

ALA's annual conference is one of the largest professional conferences. A number of helpful resources are available to help you create a plan for attending the numerous exhibits and presentations held during the conference. If you have never attended an ALA annual conference, a great way to begin is by participating in the ALA Student to Staff Program.

First-time student attendees may find the Student to Staff Program an excellent opportunity to learn and become involved in the daily operations of the annual conference. The program allows each student chapter to select one current student to receive free conference registration, housing, and a per diem for meal expenses in exchange for working four hours a day at the annual conference. Chapters typically select a representative based on essay contest submissions. The competition can be as creative as the chapter decides.

Each year a number of activities are planned for Student to Staff Program participants. This year's activities include an orientation session for the forty student participants on the evening of Thursday, June 21st from 7:00-8:00 PM at a location to be determined. In addition, students may coordinate their own group activities. Erika Johnson, ALA Chapter Relations staff, mentioned that the current group is working on planning various outings to the Library of Congress and possibly a group dinner. More information will be available on the Student to Staff Program wiki at

Information about the Student to Staff Program is sent to schools each year in early December with a February deadline for submitting nominations. Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis, since the program maximum is approximately forty students and there are currently forty-nine active student chapters.

At this time, it may be too late to apply to the Student to Staff Program for this year’s conference, but plan ahead for next year. Make note of these great conference tips provided by NMRT (, and mark your calendar for the 2008 Annual Conference June 26 - July 2 in Anaheim, California.

The SASCO Committee Members hope that you will find this column useful. Again, we invite your comments and feedback. For column ideas, other questions, and suggestions, please e-mail Larissa Gordon,, or Amy Harris, Larissa and Amy, along with the other SASCO Committee Members, look forward to hearing from you and working with you!