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.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a recipient of a 2017 ACRL Early-Career Librarian Scholarship Award. The conference provided me with a vocabulary (an intellectual repertoire) to articulate needs at my home institution. For example, a panel on the myth of resiliency proposed new metaphors and language for how to describe library labor. This conversation has helped me articulate expectations and needs when I served on screening committees and engage my colleagues about a flurry of newly created positions, many of which never existed before in our library. A presentation on student interns to inventory library collections also helped me fashion a similar position at my institution which has since been approved.
As an early-career librarian, I benefited immensely from the opportunity ACRL provided to share insights, opposing viewpoints, and camaraderie among library professionals. The profession is vast, and while this conference has helped me to find like-minded communities of practice that will be invaluable points of reference for future research, it has also helped me identify gaps in current understandings of librarianship. For example, many sessions on special collections librarianship were focused on digitization and digital scholarship. While these represent important new trends in LIS, their success depends on our ability to understand the residual, or unintended, effects of legacy collection development and management practices. Tomorrow’s data integrity depends on today’s bibliographic integrity. Secondly, many librarians seem reluctant to criticize the detrimental effects of the Internet. Has a “connected” and “open” world inhibited a library’s ability to retain added research value, to make a case for truth itself, and to make a cogent argument for its very existence as a physical space? While scholars in science studies, digital studies, and the book trade have begun to address similar issues, greater conversation among academic, college, and research librarians is needed less we devolve into a base assumption that technology is a panacea for issues around discovery, access, and preservation. Lastly, issues around labor similarly require greater conversation. For example, who will do the work of digitization, and create the metadata that is required for adequate context, and where will this work be hosted? As librarians, it is our prerogative to attend to what’s missing at least as much—if not more—to what are already “known knowns.” (The margins and gutters have always been my favorite parts of a book.)
These are a few examples of what I found lacking, but they are in spite of many quality programs that reflect the hard work of my colleagues, the organizing committee, and ACRL leadership. I outline these not to express reluctance to attend future conferences—far from it. Instead, they encourage me to rally my colleagues—old and new, near and far—and engage this scholarly community with both intellectual rigor (the kind that was so abundant in Baltimore 2017) and generosity (such as that demonstrated by ACRL’s scholarship programs).”