Vol. 21, No.4/Summer 1999
|A Students First-Time
View of the Annual SLA ConferenceBy Vannessa
As a student with an interest in news libraries, I found the SLA Annual Conference 99 a great opportunity to become acquainted not only with those in the news field but also with some of the joys and trials a news librarian faces.
After driving through tornado warnings upon entering Minnesota and not knowing a single person going to the conference, I began to have serious doubts about using my vacation time to go the SLA Annual Conference. But after my first day, I was very glad I made the trip.
Sunday evening I attended the News Divisions Open House/ Newcomers Reception. Needless to say I was not disappointed. My first order of business was to introduce myself to my mentor, John Cronin. We quickly arranged a time to meet (what a nice way to make a newcomer feel welcome and allow them a resource for their questions). Due to the number of bodies in the small suite and my somewhat shy demeanor, I quickly found myself trapped in a corner by the bar. Nevertheless, many people made an effort to introduce themselves and strike up a conversation with me. I would especially like to say thank-you to Griff Palmer from the Daily Oklahoman for answering my pressing questions and offering sound advice. I was amazed at how friendly everyone was and how many people went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and welcome.
The NewsLib Live session presented some insightful issues one might face when implementing an archiving system. I found the different views of Linda Henderson and Marcia MacVane intriguing. Each speaker offered useful advice, reviewed things to avoid, and noted that, sometimes, you must recognize that things are out of your control.
The News Industry in the New Millennium session provided some keen insights into the things we might be witnessing in the next millennium. Neil Gershenfield provided a glimpse at some of the new technological areas he is involved with at MIT. Many of the emerging technological areas were ideas I had never considered, such as using everyday things like tables as computers.
The News Library Toolbox: Your Reference Collection session provided several subject specialists recommendations for adding to a news librarys reference collection in the areas of Religion, Art & Architecture, Biographical Resources, and Politics & Government. The handouts alone were fantastic. Each speaker offered a wealth of information on their subject specialty and I will certainly consult the handouts and my notes in the future.
The Evolution of a Career: Life Before & After the News Library session presented speakers experiences before becoming news librarians and after changing careers. I was intrigued to see how many hands were raised when questioned if they would like to move outside of the news library. Just listening to the speakers discuss how they began as news librarians and how they had moved past the role as librarians into different areas within the news industry and outside the news industry was enlightening. The speakers opened my eyes to other possibilities besides the news library itself.
I found the SLA Conference a wonderful way to socialize with others in the library field, gain advice, and educate myself on important issues facing all libraries. Despite the physical exhaustion, rain and tornado warnings, and the torment of deciding between two equally appealing sessions (good thing you can order taped sessions), I enjoyed myself so much I am already making plans to be in Philadelphia next year.
Vannessa Tomlinson is a Library Technician at Midwestern University. Her email is Vtomli@midwestern.edu.
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