As a follow up to my previous post about taking classes outside of your program’s core curriculum, I also want to recommend attending conferences outside of library land.
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend and present with a team at a local Writing Center conference. It was a fantastic experience, one I highly recommend for librarians seeking to work in higher education. Being able to sit in conversation with these inspiring professionals who work alongside us in the role of academic student support was invaluable. As a future academic librarian currently on the job market, I feel much more equipped to tackle my first librarian gig knowing what valuable ground there will be for future partnerships and collaborations.
At my current place of employment, we have actually developed a strong team made up of three library people and the director of our writing center. We have actually taken that show on the road and now presented at both a local library conference and now a writing center oriented one. I have the great privilege of working alongside a colleague, Beck Hertl, who has experience in both academic centers and libraries. When I asked them if they had any reflections to share, they said,
“Writing centers and libraries are such natural fits for each other when it comes to collaborative possibilities, we have so many shared goals. We work within the same vein of higher ed (academic support services), and we approach the work we do in a similar way. In writing centers, it’s all about navigating the writing process with students. In academic libraries, it’s all about navigating the research process with students.
If you talk to writing center folk long enough about how they engage with students on their writing processes, you’ll start to notice some parallels in the ways us library folk engage with students on their research processes. We can learn so much from each other!”
While in some ways, it was admittedly intimidating the attend a conference outside of my realm of expertise, I felt nothing but welcomed by those working in the writing center world. Seeing all of the layers of overlap in both our theory and our practice definitely kindled a professional interest that I am sure will stay with me for many years to come. I can’t wait to find new and meaningful ways to collaborate with our peers in academic writing centers!
As I’ve said before, being a librarian, of any stripe, is interdisciplinary by its very nature. The more we as students are able to embrace that in our education and experience, the stronger the profession will be as a whole.