Exchanging Information and Insights at the VLA Annual Conference

Written by Susan Metallo, MSLS Candidate, 2012, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

I attended the VLA Annual Conference for the third time this year.  The Conference is a somewhat unique professional development opportunity that blends library and information science theory with its practical application.  It provides a time and space for reflecting on the issues in our profession in a setting that is removed from our day-to-day work and also gives us an outlet to discuss practical concerns and share ideas.  As I am in the midst of completing my M.S.L.S. degree, I especially appreciated the opportunity to hear the perspectives of my fellow professionals in the field who are in practice confronting the issues that I study academically.

I also had the opportunity to present my research at the Conference this year.  In a session entitled “From Public Library History to Fantasy Heroes: A Cross-Section of Research from an M.L.S. Program,” I and two of my colleagues shared our experiences in our graduate program and the research we have been conducting.  In library school we do not always have the opportunity to talk about the research we do–to share it with others and articulate its practical application.  In the field, librarians are often too busy with their demanding workload to devote much time to reviewing or conducting LIS research.  Yet librarianship is a truly collaborative profession which places value on the sharing of ideas and information.  The Conference provided a wonderful opportunity for me to discuss my research with others, share what I have learned, and solicit feedback and new ideas from my colleagues.

And besides, the Conference was fun!  Trust the librarians to bring all of their enthusiasm and love of their work to this large professional gathering.  I had the chance to catch up with former coworkers, meet new people, and even do a bit of karaoke.  I must confess, I returned home exhausted.  But I am already looking forward to October 2012!

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