Hack Library Conferences

There are countless of library conferences in and outside of the United States. Interested in attending? Don’t wait until after you graduate. Take advantage of your time as a student and reap the benefits of attending as a student. Though not required, I believe attending or presenting at a conference is a staple experience of library school.

So, the Advantages…

  • Library-related swag: Need I say more?
  • Professional Development: Conferences include panels and presentations that are intended to expand your thinking and build your skills as a librarian.
  • Professional Networking: You’re going to be surrounded by other LIS professionals so it is a great opportunity to make connections with those outside of your everyday range.
  • Discounted Costs: Students are offered reduced rates compared to professional librarians.

Scoping out Conferences
While there is no singular platform that provides you a list of all the possible conferences in library world (that would be too easy, right?), Google and Twitter are your companions. Conducting a simple Google search will provide you with a few web-pages that list many conferences, but are far from exhaustive. Next, turn to social media, particularly Twitter. See what other librarians in your social network are tweeting about. Check out hashtags as well.

If You’re Attending, Why not Present?
Attending a conference would no doubt be an enriching experience. However, many conferences open up the opportunity for students to also share their work. This will appeal to future employers because it shows you are interested in professional development and you can point to this as presentation experience. If you’ve been working on a research project for class or have a particular research interest, this would be a wonderful chance to take it further. Expanding on recent a class project can save you time. Poster presentations are a good low-stakes way to participate in that 1) you don’t have to worry about preparing to speak in front or large audiences for a large amount of time; 2) posters are visual and potentially less detailed than a paper; 3) the competition is usually higher for paper-presentation as there a limited number for slots.

Other Tips

  • Two minds are better than one: Partner up with a peer or a librarian/faculty member you admire. Working together can lessen the workload and heighten the quality of your presentation. Plus you can potentially save on travel or accommodation by going together!
  • Research conferences in advance: Many conferences are planned months, if not years, in advance. Not only are there discounted advanced registration fees, but the submission process starts much earlier.
  • More ways to save: See what funding is available to you through your program as well as the graduate school
  • Tweet tweet: While attending the conference, and even before, be sure to follow and utilize the conference’s hashtag. Get a conversation going, and maybe even meet up with folks from the conference.
  • Old-fashioned charm: Take business cards with you, if possible! They’re a tangible token for those you meet.

More tips? Comments? Please share below. And stay tuned for my next post, which will be detailing my trip to Riga, Latvia for the BOBCATSSS 2018 conference!


Photo Courtesy of Flickr User Riccatreccia.

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