Darla, a librarian trainee at the Half Hollow Hills Public Libray, is here in New Orleans at her first ALA conference as a 2010-2011 Spectrum Scholar. I caught up with Darla at last night’s Spectrum Professional Options Fair at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street.
“This is just like speed-dating,” Darla laughed.
Darla was right: The Grand Ballroom was set up with tables representing various divisions of ALA, professional organizations, and OCLC, the fair’s sponsor. I was staffing the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) table along with ALSC president Mary Fellows and ALSC Membership/Marketing Specialist Dan Rude. Spectrum Scholars sought out tables of interest to network and learn more about proffessional opportunities.
Darla, who is a student at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at Queens College, still works at the Northport Public Library where she got her start as a page in the Youth Services Department. “Doris gave me so many conference tips on the plane ride down,” Darla said. I told Darla that when I was a trainee at Northport I was particulalry overwhelmed by my new role as reader’s advisor, and I kept recommending Sharon Creech to everyone who walked in the door. “I’m the same way with Neil Gaiman!” Darla confessed. Darla tackles this challenge by reading books off the new book carts at both of her libraries.
Darla left the ALSC table with a committee volunteer form in hand and encouragement from Mary Fellows to fill it out “multiple times.” Whether you are able to attend conferences or not, there are ways to get involved with ALA, and a little bit of perserverance always helps.