We’ve asked the ACRL 2017 Conference scholarship recipients to describe the impact of attending the ACRL 2017 Conference on their professional life and/or their library.
Andrea J. Briggs is an archivist and special collections librarian at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD.
“As a trained archivist and historian, my background so far has been focused on those particular areas of research and information science. As a young professional, my career in the field of libraries and special collections is only beginning. In my role as Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at McDaniel College, I am required to take my knowledge of rare books and manuscripts from my archival training and apply it to a new setting in an academic library. Attending ACRL 2017 allowed me to expand my education as an information professional by providing the opportunity to grow now as an academic librarian, making connections with new colleagues and exposing myself to new ideas and ways to approach my collections. I learned new strategies for promoting special collections in an undergraduate library setting, especially when those collections contained non-archival materials, and how to best reach my patron base, which includes not only academic scholars but also members of the general public.
It was conversation that carried the most importance for me at the conference, with the roundtable discussions becoming the richest part of my ACRL experience. The roundtables were the perfect place to share ideas on how to work through problems, learn from our colleagues, and find support in shared stories and solutions.
At ACRL, I began truly thinking of myself as a teacher and an educator, not “just” an archivist or librarian – and that takeaway, more than any of the strategies we discussed, was the most valuable lesson of the conference for me.
Throughout all of the presentations and panels at ACRL, I learned how I could take my previous experiences “behind the stacks” in museums and historical societies and apply them in meaningful ways to the more forward-facing role I am in as a Special Collections Librarian in an academic library. By engaging with my librarian colleagues, I helped bridge the long-debated “divide” between archivists and librarians, and contributed my unique viewpoint from my background as an archivist to our professional conversation, both at ACRL and at McDaniel.
I’d like to thank CALD again for helping to make this experience possible, allowing me to better understand who I am as an educator and librarian, and providing me an opportunity to discover tools and takeaways I can carry with me for the rest of my career.”