Student Learning Objective 5

The student engages in professional development and service and identifies specializations and related professional organizations as relevant to individual interests.

Numerous organizations exist to assist librarians in continuous improvement of their skills and building community in the profession. The American Library Association with its many sub organizations is the largest such organization in the United States. The American Association of School Librarians is a subgroup that targets the needs of librarians serving in schools. Regional groups like the North Carolina Library Association and North Carolina School Library Media Association provide an opportunity to develop local relationships and more personal engagement.

I am a member of the American Library Association and attended the 2017 Mid-Winter Conference in Atlanta as well as the 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans and 2019 Annual Conference in Washington D.C. Attendance at the New Orleans conference was as part of the team representing UNCG and I contributed to minding the table on the exhibit floor. The broad scope of vendors, speakers, and sessions at these conferences was an eye opener in regards to the wide range of possibilities for librarianship. Meeting authors of books I read and meeting authors who inspired me to read their books was the highlight of the conferences, though engaging with vendors was also an important aspect. The vast array of possibilities at an ALA conference made connecting with other librarians of similar interests a bit of a challenge, but the AASL section meeting for school library students was a profitable experience. Hearing the challenges faced by others and the similarity of situations was encouraging.

The 2017 North Carolina Library Association conference was a much more intimate experience than the ALA conferences. I assisted in the preparation of welcome packets for the conference along with other UNCG students. At the conference there were session targeted at new librarians that were helpful in gaining perspective on the profession. This smaller, local conference afforded more opportunities to make connections with local professionals and provided access to other professional development activities such as a session on marketing held at UNC Charlotte in 2018. The ALA conferences provided broad access, but the NCLA provided more depth of access.

Since deciding to remain in my position at Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill, I joined and am attending the 2019 conference of the North Carolina School Library Media Association. I expect this conference to be even more targeted to areas of interest to me and applicable to my job situation. I expect to spend more time choosing which relevant session to attend than deciding which sessions are relevant as was the case at the large ALA conferences.