Quetzalli Barrientos: ACRL/NY 2019 Conference Reflection

I recently attended the ACRL/NY 2019 Symposium this past week. The theme for this year was Redefining Ethical Innovation in the Academic Library. It took place on Friday, December 6, 2019, at Baruch College in New York City. I attended ACRL/NY for the first time last year (December 2018), and it quickly became one of my favorite symposiums. The symposium program is held in one enormous room, so attendees are able to attend all the sessions. This is convenient, especially since I am glad that we do not have to choose between sessions. This year, the sessions allowed me and other participants to learn from our colleagues and see what exciting projects or initiatives they have been working on. Here are some highlights: 

It started off with a great panel titled, “Representation Matters: Asian American Voices in Academic Library Leadership.” The presenters, Janet Clarke, Brian Lym, Jennie Pu, Jennifer Shimada, and Anuradha Vedantham, were part of a panel that spoke to challenges and success while moving up in management. The first question was, what does it mean to be a leader? Among the answers were: finding partnerships, finding people who will advocate for you, but also advocating for them. Anuradha Vedantham said, “to focus on what is possible and within your sphere of control.” The second question asked, how do you engage and promote diversity and equity? Participants answered with: staying engaged with the process of growth in librarianship and having a mentor that helps you clarify your thinking. One of the last questions was, what advice would you give new professionals, students, or early career people? Overall, the main response was to build your community, stand up for the right decision, and advocate for those who do not have a voice. The conversation ended with this final statement: Being a leader is knowing when the appropriate time for change is. This could not have resonated better with me and caused me to think about some changes going on in my own professional life. 

Another highlight was one of my personal favorites, “WOC+LIB: A New Blog Resource for WOC+POC in Librarianship,” presented by LaQuanda Onyemeh and Lorin Jackson, both current resident librarians. Onyemeh and Jackson are the founders of the website, “WOC+LIB,” which aims “to elevate the multidimensional experiences of a diverse group of people of color in librarianship.” During this presentation, Jackson spoke about the mission statement and want to give people an outlet. Even more, they hit upon demystifying the writing process. To alleviate this, they held two webinars titled, “Beginner Writers Webinar,” which is meant to minimize the intimidation of writing, as well as finding community. Obviously, as a former resident librarian, I was happy to see two resident librarians be able to build something meant for librarians of color, by librarians of color. Other highlights included getting to see my friends and colleagues, as well as eating some New York City pizza. If you’re interested in finding out more about the presentations, I suggest you go to twitter and look through the ACRL/NY 2019 hashtag #ACRLNY19. As always, I encourage you to consider ACRL/NY 2020 as an option for your professional development. There are scholarships available. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.