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75th Anniversary Scholarship Recipient: Annette Parde-Maass

As part of the celebration of ACRL’s 75th Anniversary, we’ve asked the ACRL 75th Anniversary scholarship recipients to describe the impact of attending the ACRL 2015 Conference on their professional life and/or their library.

Parde-Maass, AnnetteAnnette Parde-Maass is the Librarian at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska.

“ACRL 2015 in Portland, Oregon, was my first ACRL conference, and my attendance was due to the Early Career Scholarship. My institution, Midland University, had been without a full-time MLS librarian for approximately 4 years. They attempted to hire in 2012 and 2013 but without success. As such, the 2014-2015 budget did not plan for professional development or travel for the librarian, and I arrived in August of 2014.

As a lone MLS librarian, conference and workshop attendance was crucial as they provided a base for my network of professional librarians. I felt attending ACRL was key in my first year as head of Midland’s library. At first, it seemed as if I would need to pay my own way if I was to attend, and I was not sure I could afford to do so. Once I learned of the scholarship, I jumped at the opportunity. Because I received the scholarship, my institution agreed to pay the rest of the cost. The ACRL scholarship donors’ investment in me spurred my institution to do the same, even though my position didn’t exist when they proposed the budget.

This investment provided me with many opportunities, including a pre-conference workshop, Tutorials Toolkit: Creating Sustainable Information Literacy Instruction, where I met other librarians who offered ideas and advice on how to develop information literacy without the ability to visit every class. Several sessions focused on assessment and research, which I utilized when creating a student survey and building use study. Findings from these approaches brought about updates and changes to the physical library space for Fall 2015. A session on emergency planning expanded my concept of preparedness and pushed me to examine our lack of it. Not only did sessions inform me, they also inspired. G. Willow Wilson, Jad Abumrad, and Lawrence Lessig brought energy and renewal to me after six months of cleaning up library records, planning for updates, and juggling my library duties with those as our learning management system administrator. I came back refreshed, excited, and connected to librarians across the nation and many from my own state who found it important to attend.

I am deeply grateful to the donors for giving me the chance to attend ACRL. Their investment and my application of conference experiences encouraged my supervisor to propose enough money in the 2015-16 budget for me to attend one national conference and several regional ones each year. Thank you ACRL and the donors who made this possible.”