Meet SLIS Faculty and Students in Person
As a new student do you sometimes wonder if you will miss sitting in class and taking notes as your professor lectures up in front of the room? Do you think about how you will interact with your classmates who may be halfway around the world from you? While taking a totally online program has many advantages I have found that it can sometimes feel a little lonely sitting by myself with only the glow of the computer screen to keep me company.
And while I have plenty of interactions with my classmates and professors online through discussion boards, synchronous class sessions, emails and instant messaging, every once in a while I crave face-to-face interaction instead.
The good news is that you can connect face-to-face with people from the SLIS community. You can meet SLIS faculty, staff, alumni and students in person by attending national and state library conferences. SLIS makes an effort to have exhibits and receptions at many conferences for information professionals, not just in California, but across the U.S. and Canada. They even have a presence at some international conferences, such as IFLA.
Last year I attended my first professional conference (which I highly recommend) and SLIS had a booth there. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the SLIS reception that had happened earlier that week but it sounded lovely. Most receptions include complementary hors d’ouevres and the chance to meet and mingle with students, alumni, and faculty.
Through SLISAlert, an email discussion list which you are automatically subscribed to, you will receive information about upcoming events near you, which SLIS faculty and staff will attend. Even if you don’t attend the professional conference, you can always attend any SLIS reception. (SLIS receptions are not limited to conference attendees.)
SLIS also regularly shares information about upcoming lectures that faculty will be giving at conferences and other venues. If you check out this page you can see that faculty speak and present around the globe so chances are good that there might be something close to you.
As a SLIS student you can get involved in professional conferences, too. Many of your classmates help plan conferences, volunteer while they attend, and even make presentations. You can learn more about how students get involved in professional conferences (and perhaps get ideas about how you can get involved) by reading through Community Profiles stories.
Why do so many people advocate for attending professional conferences? It’s safe to say that everyone has different reasons for attending. You can meet new people in your field, learn more about the future of library and information science, and score lots of swag. While most of us have heard about the big conferences like ALA and PLA, there are also statewide professional conferences that usually cost less to attend and are closer to home.
I attended my state’s annual professional conference (the first and only conference I have ever attended) and I had a lot of fun. Everyone there is excited, practically giddy about the information profession. I was able to see what other libraries around the state were doing and I felt ridiculously inspired after I left. I not only learned a lot but I felt refreshed and energized. I wanted to get back to my library and make some changes!
Connecting with SLIS, and other professionals, can be very rewarding. Take a look at the upcoming events and faculty presentations. You never know, there might be something closer than you realize.
Additional pages to peruse: