Two of our ArLiSNAP Volunteers discuss their experiences of going to conference as new professionals.
Angelique Roy is the Community Outreach & Volunteer Services Program Librarian at Cochrane Public Library. She is serving as the ArLiSNAP Canadian Liaison and is also the Secretary/Treasurer for ARLIS/NA Canada. You can learn more about Angelique from her welcome post on the ArLiSNAP Blog.
Anna van Someren is the Access Services Librarian at Harvard University, where she started this past August. Anna has written many feature posts for our ArLiSNAP blog. You can read some of Anna’s blog posts as well as her welcome post on our blog.
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Angelique Roy, ArLiSNAP Canadian Liaison
What is your favorite part about attending an ARLIS/NA conference?
I have been fortunate enough to attend two ARLIS/NA conferences now, one during my final year as a student and one during my first year as a “professional.” I would have to say that my favourite part of the conference has been meeting likeminded people and sharing that excitement and energy with hundreds of others already working (or trying to work, like myself) in the field of art librarianship. It is such an excellent opportunity for networking to meet people from across Canada and the US and to see what kinds of projects and initiatives are currently underway in the field. And if we’re being honest, also the awesome receptions, usually held at beautiful museums or galleries or libraries. Those are a lot of fun J
How has attending ARLIS/NA impacted your professional career?
I would like to think it has. I feel so much more connected to the profession than I would if I wasn’t able to attend the conference. This year, after having attended the conference in New Orleans, I came home and felt truly inspired to get involved and follow my passion for the arts. With that said, I have become more actively involved with ArLiSNAP and ARLIS/NA Canada and have been generally seeking out opportunities within the field whether it’s part of my career path or just volunteer roles within the city of Calgary where I’m living.
Why do you feel it is important for new professionals to attend conferences?
I think it is important for new professionals to attend the conference because we spend most of our time as students being scared and worrying about the future and our careers. Sometimes we second guess if we’re going down the right path, if we’ll ever get a job in the field, if we’ll ever be as good as other librarians/archivists we know, but I think the conference puts some of those fears and doubts at bay. I feel much more confident now after having attended two conferences, and speaking at one, that I did make the right choice, and I am determined to find work in this field in (Western) Canada (because that can sometimes be the trickiest part). Once you attend you meet new people who can guide, inspire, support, and advise you and this makes being a new professional a whole lot easier and less intimidating.
What are some of the challenges you face in getting to conference?
Of course the number one challenge for most of us, I think, is the cost. It is really challenging to attend a conference in another country when you aren’t currently working or maybe your position doesn’t support this type of conference, or any number of other factors that might come into play depending on your circumstances. In addition to that, I think that time/timing is a challenge. If you start a new job, you may not be entitled to vacation right away or your job might not yet be in the field of art librarianship so getting that time off can be difficult. However, where there’s a will there’s a way! Though I would still say that funding (or lack thereof) would be the biggest challenge I face in getting to an ARLIS/NA conference.
Do you feel a travel award targeted at new professionals is needed and why?
YES! I think a travel award targeted at new professionals is so important. Namely for all of the reasons I listed above, but because early career librarians should have the opportunity to attend conferences, meet and get to know their peers, get inspired, explore a new city, and learn about what practices/initiatives/ideas/projects are happening in the profession without a financial impediment!
Anna van Someren, ArLiSNAP Feature Post Writer
What are some of the challenges you face in getting to conferences?
I graduated recently and I’m applying for jobs and I really want to go to the conference in New York but I don’t know exactly where I’ll be at that point. I’m applying for academic positions and positions at art institutions and there is no guarantee that my employer at that time will have an interest in supporting me to attend conferences so it might be difficult financially because in school you can apply for a stipend but when you’re a new professional, depending on where you’re employed, you might kind of be on your own.
What was your favorite part of attending an ARLIS/NA Conference?
My favorite part about attending my first ARLIS/NA Conference was just how welcoming and open everyone was. I knew some people because I had already attended a few meetings of my local chapter and they were all there at ARLIS/NA and they were so generous with their time and so helpful. They introduced me to so many people and it wasn’t just the people that I knew from my local chapter but everyone that I met at the conference was just so welcoming and so genuinely interested in meeting new people and that was really important to me because it can be kind of overwhelming and a little bit intimidating when you’re trying to enter into a new field.
Why do you think it’s important for New Professionals to attend conferences?
I think it’s important for new professionals to attend conferences like ARLIS/NA because you meet people who have been working in the field for decades. You get to hear them speak. You learn so much and it’s really inspiring. It makes you really excited about the possibilities of your own career and you also meet people like you who are just graduating or just in their first or second job, kind of early in their career and you can kind of find a community of people there too.