Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Diary of a Conference-Planning Newbie and Librarian-to-be - March 22, 2014

On Saturday, March 22, 2014, the CLA and SLA student groups at Western University jointly hosted a one-day conference called "Humans of New Librarianship". The theme was very much in-line of what all of us, as aspiring information professionals are wondering about and working towards! The name? A devious spin-off of the blog called, "Humans of New York". 

Meagan Berry, current chair of UWO CLA is modeled in one our conference's promotional images.
The CLA-SLA Conference Organizing Committee was made up of mostly executive members of the CLA and SLA student groups; Meagan Berry, Catherine Alderson, Rachel Burke, Colin Evans, Dan Quintal, Doris Wagner, Charlene Lee, Lyndsey Janzen, and myself. Thank you everyone on the planning committee for all of their hard work! This was possibly one of the best groups of people that I worked with, and it made everything go so smoothly!

On the day, we all started our mornings, bright and early at 8:00am in NCB. And of course, it was from the get-go that obstacles began to come forth. We had 2 or 3 coffee machines going along with 2 kettles to ensure our offerings of freshly brewed coffee and hot water ready for the break. Unfortunately for us, the power kept jumping, and our coffee station had to be relocated 3 times! As frustrating as it was, everyone handled it very well, and coffee was had! We received an astounding donation of baked goods from members of the CLA and SLA student groups to fill our coffee break table with muffins, cupcakes, strudels, croissants, and more! One feature of our coffee break setup that caught some attention was a continuation of CLA's "Bakerspace", where attendees were invited to decorate cookies and cupcakes with frosting and/or sprinkles. 

The first of our feature speakers, Sarah Roberts, is an instructor from our very own Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS), and teaches LIS 9005 - Managing and Working in Information Organizations. It was nice to listen to her talk about something more related to her current research interests! Visit Sarah's blog to find out what she thought of our conference, and see what amazing things she does!

Sarah Roberts spoke to use about human traces in the technologically-encapsulated world! She even brought her 3-D printout of a Settlers of Catan gamepiece!
Our second feature speakers, Stephen Abram, came to our conference from Toronto. Meagan Berry had been in contact with him since the OLA conference in February, and convinced him to come and fill our hearts with library wisdom and hope! It was a wonderful opportunity to meet Stephen as former chair of the CLA and SLA organizations! Visit Stephen's blog to view his slides from the conference and see what interesting things is he is up to! You can also read more about Stephen's talk on UWO CLA's blog entry by MLIS student, Ryan Regier, a member of the CLA student group and attendee of the conference!

Stephen Abrams talked to us about new trends in librarianship!
Our conference also featured two lightning talks by students of our program, Sarah Calder, and Erin Clupp!

Sarah Calder talked to us about social tagging!

Erin Clupp closed our conference talks with the human-centred approach to archives!
It was an amazing experience to be involved in the planning process behind a conference and see everything follow through. It was also amazing to see how much work goes into planning a single day - speakers, accommodation and transportation for speakers, lightning talks, budgeting, delegating tasks for the day of, catering, donations, equipment for presentations, equipment for coffee breaks...it really helps me understand why the organizers behind the OLA begin recruiting their student volunteers a year prior! 

This was a great opportunity for me to learn about really seeing the process of building and hosting a conference, and it's something that I'm going to take with me on my continued journey to a library career! Thank you to everyone who helped us, and thank you to everyone who attended! 

Megan Siu, originally from Edmonton, Alberta, is a co-chair of the UWO SLA Student Chapter, but is also involved with the UWO CLA Student Chapter. She is currently in her second term of the MLIS program and is only growing more certain of her passion for the field of library and information science. Her interests are focused in special and non-traditional librarianship, particularly in legal and government-related environments.

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