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.
Cameron Caswell is a reference librarian at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, MD.
“When I applied for funding to attend ACRL 2017, I wrote that as a librarian making a transition from public to academic, I very much relished the chance to learn the terrain of my new field. I anticipated that the conference would be an efficient way to do this, but I couldn’t have known just how rich and intense the experience would turn out to be. I was happily surprised, even if at moments a bit overwhelmed. The conference presented me with an enormous amount of information, which, among other things, taught me just how much I have to learn. I’ve come away from the event with a year’s worth of notes to revisit, reflect on, and digest. I also look forward to following up on my pile of business cards, representing an extensive network of new colleagues. New to me were the many different conference formats and how they worked together. Thanks to this experience, I’m now an old hand at the conference, and can see myself perhaps facilitating a roundtable next time around, or maybe even presenting a paper.
Beyond learning much about the range of trends and areas of emerging concern in academic libraries, there was the serious fun of hanging out with what seemed almost every academic librarian in the world. What a blast! If only every party was like this: a party where everyone was interesting. Those informal conversations with new friends and old were really the peak of the experience for me. The discussions that happened at the end of a workshop, or while seated on the floor in a crowded session, or while running into a presenter in that long, long hallway— with these I was effectively immersed in a community of colleagues to an extent probably only possible at such a conference. I hope and plan to carry that spirit of community and collaboration into the relatively placid day-to-day of my work at Anne Arundel Community College. Many thanks to the Congress of Academic Library Directors for supporting this experience for me!”