Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the New England ACRL conference. As an individual with a (relatively) shiny new MLIS, it was an exciting experience. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people–and see familiar faces– in the New England area. I even participated in my first Twitter live chat! Normally, I find Twitter overwhelming, but being able to focus on a specific topic and contribute to the conversation was a great experience. It was especially interesting to see the messages different individuals took out of the same presentations I was in and see what new ideas people contributed to the original messages. The theme of this conference was professional development, and I’d like to take some time to reflect.
One key point was how it essential it is to be focused in your professional development. This may be common sense, but I think there is a lot of pressure to try to do everything and learn everything, and it’s not just possible. As a new librarian, there are so many things to learn, I’m not sure where to focus my energies. I think the advice to develop goals that are relevant to you and, if applicable, your position or institution is sound. If you are experiencing some difficulty in developing a plan, I recommend checking out Jaime Hammond’s handout from her session “Using Themes to Design Your Professional Development Strategy”. It is a great brainstorming tool and provides a scaffold for completing the development of a full plan.
Even within a focused plan, creativity and passion is also a big part of growing as an individual and professional. I think it is important to care about your goals, and it was encouraging to see that message promoted at the conference. Engaging–in collaboration, writing, presentations, etc.–is essential, and I saw strong examples of this lesson in the conference. Between the posters, presentations, and conversations, I saw a lot of energy and creativity as people responded and discussed ideas within their presentations, discussions, and posters.
Overall, I had a great time at the conference. The panels–in particular Ms. Hammond’s–gave me the structure to start thinking about professional development as well as some ideas for seeking out those options. It reaffirmed my love for the field, and I look forward to seeing the people I met again in the future. I am still sorting out my ideas, but I’m looking forward to continuing my professional journey.