California Library Association Conference Opens Door to Possibilities

iStudent Blog

Published: June 14, 2023 by Shannon Broden

CLA Conference SignAs someone who came into studying library science to pivot from another career field, I did not have a lot of opportunity to be exposed to librarianship outside of my coursework. Events unfolded in my life that made me look at what options might be available to me, and I found out about SJSU’s travel grants for current students. With the approval deadline fast approaching, I applied for and quickly gained approval to attend the California Library Conference in Sacramento, California from June 1st through 3rd, 2023. At about the same time, I found out that the iSchool would be having a reception where students have the opportunity to present posters of work and research they have done during the academic year; once I knew I was approved to go to Sacramento, I also signed up for a poster presentation opportunity.

The Conference

Being able to attend the conference exposed me to many things. I learned not only about the advances in technology and user experience showcased by Dr. Anthony Chow and my fellow students at SJSU iSchool, but other areas of librarianship, as well. Having worked with interns as part of my prior career, I attended a seminar on being a trainer, so I could see how those mentoring and training skills might translate to a library environment. I also attended a panel on creating a window into the world of play on designing play spaces in libraries, in large part because one of the presenters was from Spokane, Washington, where I grew up, and I loved seeing the work that had been done in the libraries there.

The Poster Presentation

Certificate presented to Shannon BrodenBeing able to be involved in the poster presentation at the iSchool reception allowed me to do several things. I got to showcase my work in researching and doing a poster presentation in virtual worlds –  Second Life and SJSU’s Virtual Center for Archives and Records Administration (VCARA) in specific – to a variety of attendees. This allowed me to speak to a wide variety of librarians employed in environments from academic, to public, to specialty libraries and archives. Being only at the end of my first year of the program, I found it extremely helpful to learn so much about the possibilities. Also, meeting other students at various stages in the program, as well as alumni, really helped.

What I Learned

Besides everything that I already mentioned, I took advantage of time to look over the exhibit floor and speak to a wide range of exhibitors to learn about all the different vendor services available for libraries. Also, I took advantage of the resume review sessions being offered by the California Library Association to help me figure out what to highlight in my resume for moving from a corporate to library setting. The entire event proved to be an amazing, immersive education into the world of libraries at just the right time in my career that I could not have done without help from the SJSU iSchool Travel Grant.

Editor’s Note: The SJSU iSchool highly encourages students to attend professional conferences but also realizes that it can be cost prohibitive. Travel grants are available to eligible students to help lessen the financial burden and increase conference participation. iSchool student Shannon Broden received one of these travel grants.


CLA conference

I am also pivoting from one career to another and have no library experience, so I found your post encouraging. I live in Sacramento and did not know this conference was going on. But I am sure it was by invitation only. Thank you for cluing us in on the travel grants. May I ask how your first year went and from which career did you switch? I am starting the program in the fall.

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