Moving to Toronto for library school was a difficult decision, but one that became a “best decision ever” very quickly. The opportunities to build your skills and network in Toronto are amazing.
So when I heard that the Ontario Library Association has a student volunteer program for their Super Conference with a very reasonable exchange (several hours volunteering = free access to conference), I jumped on the opportunity. This, readers, is my first #OLASC experience:
I arrived at the Metro Convention Centre at 7:30 AM on Wednesday and after a quick orientation, I was made the “App Genius” (which means that I was the person going around trying to coerce people to use the app).
Volunteering first thing the morning turned out to be a great idea. It gave me time to learn where all the rooms that I would need were and it gave me an opportunity to see how veterans acted at a conference before I had to strike out on my own.
After I found a few of my iSchool friends, we decided to start exploring and find some sessions to attend. Some of the highlights for me were:
– Rethinking Reference: Student Needs and Staff Training, which outlined ways to implement instructive reference services through mind maps and strategic reference interview questions.
– Reference on Reddit: Can We Help? outlined ways that Reddit users shared information and participated in community-driven reference. This session really forced me to evaluate my online presence and what that online presence could be when I become a librarian.
– The Speed-Networking Event was the most nerve-wrecking event of the entire conference and the most rewarding. Sitting in a room of professionals who were willing to take the time to get to know you, offer advice, and teach you how to exchange business cards was such a blessing. This is an event that I wish lasted 3 hours, not 1.
The biggest highlight was definitely seeing Jane Pratt (founder of Sassy Magazine
and the xoJane
website). Even with an ankle injury, Jane taught us (in a way only Jane could) how to be successful while staying true to your vision.
“I believe in bringing women up, not tearing them down. A success for another woman is success for ALL women.” – Jane Pratt
All in all, my first OLA Super Conference experience could not have been better. It was the kindest introduction to the conference world and a great preparation for the SLA Conference in Boston this summer. Let the professional life begin, I’m not complaining!