Sarah’s ARLIS/NA + VRA Conference Experience

Sarah Long is the recipient of the 2016 ARLIS/NA New England Chapter Annual Conference Travel Award.

Read on to learn about Sarah’s conference experience!

I’d like to thank the award selection committee and the chapter for this awesome opportunity to come back to Seattle. Granted that time was one week of graduate school orientation for the University of Washington online MLIS program, but I still felt an urge to return.

After spending almost all of last year’s conference at the registration desk, I was excited to get back in there and experience the conference and see Seattle. But I wasn’t quite done with the registration desk, I volunteered for the first shift Tuesday morning. My two hours consisted mostly of directing members of the Woodland Park Zoo to the other registration desk on the floor and checking in members of the executive board before their all-day meeting. After that, I was free to roam around the city.

Later that day I attended the Pioneer Square tour led by Alan Michelson of UW. While the tour started at Pioneer Square, Alan took us around the whole neighborhood, including the Gold Rush museum and describing nearly the complete architectural history of Seattle. He knew the complete story of nearly every building we passed. Luckily we had sunshine for entirety of the three hour tour.

The most important and helpful part of the conference were the two workshops I attended on Wednesday. The first workshop was the Career Development led by ArLiSNAP and VREPS. We received invaluable tips for carrying out job searches including sharing places to find job listings, how to communicate with and use references, and resources for maintaining relevancy in the field. More importantly we focused on persistence and maintaining positive outlooks and an open mind.

The second workshop was the first meeting of the year-long career mentoring program. The theme for this year is leadership, and we spent time brainstorming qualities of a good leader what we strive for in our careers. Before the workshop we were asked to create SMART goals (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevancy, Timeframe) to focus our objectives and gain perspective. The mentees completed exercises and received advice on how to approach our positions as mentees vis-à-vis communication, expectations, and support. During the second half of the workshop we met with our mentors to get to know them and edit our goals. My mentor, Yvette Cortes, and I discussed a plan for future meetings, establishing agendas, and goal-setting. The Committee members will be in touch with us all year providing readings and advice. The two workshops gave me with a boost in confidence and ambition for continuing my job search and getting involved in the organization.

During the rest of the conference, I attended the session on web archiving, new voices in the profession, the poster session where I got a volunteer opportunity, and sat in and took notes for the Documentation Committee. I met with colleagues from Houston and new friends and colleagues in New England, and got so much encouragement and understanding regarding my quest for employment. I had a remarkable time and hope to see all of you soon!

About Sarah: Sarah Long has a BA in Art History from Trinity University and MLIS from the University of Washington. She worked at the Hirsch Library, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for eight years and currently resides in Providence, RI.

About the ARLIS/NA New England Chapter Travel Award: The Travel Award is intended to encourage the professional development of  ARLIS/NA New England Chapter members by supporting travel to the ARLIS/NA annual conference.. Money for this award is generously donated by ARLIS/NA New England Chapter members.