Posts filed under ‘LSO’
This past Saturday was the 3rd Annual SIRLS Graduate Student Symposium. After months of planning, organizing, and waking up in the middle of the night thinking about it, it all came together. And I think it went fantastically. We had one presenter cancel at the last minute due to illness, but other than that everything went smoothly. The technology worked, the presentations were great, and we stayed on schedule. I saw a presentation on searching behavior of avatars in Second Life, Learner-Centered vs. Teacher-Centered Instruction, and Learning Styles in Library Instruction. They were all wonderful and I was very impressed with the quality of content presented by these students. I delivered my own presentation on Access to Information in the Czech Republic and received positive feedback, although unforunately it ran a little long leaving little time for discussion. I probably should have gone for the 50-minute slot, after all. You can see more details on the day’s presentations online here.
We had 5 posters at the poster session and there were some great discussions surrounding virtual searching, library environments, and the library needs of young children. The only real negative feedback we got for the event was that the room we held this in was too small. It doesn’t surprise me, since I found it to be crowded myself, so lesson learned for next time. I was very excited to have a poster session for the first time; we had attempted this last year but to no avail.
Chris Dodge delivered the keynote presentation and discussed inconsistencies between ALA’s core values and the practice of librarians, including equal access, diversity, and intellectual freedom. I found it quite fascinating.
Unfortunately people seemed to dwindle a little bit near the end. While we had approximately 60 attendees at the Symposium overall, there were only 42 at the closing keynote and probably 20 people at the reception that followed. It is always a hard thing to judge. Overall, though, I was very happy with the turnout and it was the largest that we’ve seen at the annual Symposium. So that’s a very good sign.
A number of faculty from SIRLS were in attendance, including director Jana Bradley; also attending was Nancy Ledeboer, director of the Pima County Public Library. Three university librarians came as well as a number of library staff and student workers. I heard a lot of positive feedback on the organization of the event and the program. The three student presenters that flew in from Maryland also said they were impressed with the event, which was great to hear.
It’s finally over so that I can stop worrying about what may or may not happen. I do believe that all the hard work was worth it. The students got a lot out of it, and it increases the visibility of the SIRLS program & its students within the library community.
Just for fun, here are a few quotes from attendees:
“The Symposium was a spectacular success!” – Jana Bradley, SIRLS Director
“This conference was way better than any ALA program I have ever attended. The subject matter was rich and the participants were enthusiastic.” – Mary Evangeliste, University of Arizona Librarian (you can see her whole blog post on the event here).
“This is an event that will stay in my memory for the rest of my career, and I’m pleased and proud to have been part of it.” – Liz Danforth, SIRLS Student and Symposium Presenter
“Kudos to the committee and the presenters for the wonderful job they did on the SIRLS Graduate Symposium which happened this Saturday. I think the presentations I attended were great and had the largest audiences I have seen at the Symposiums!!!” – Carrie Larson, UA Library Information Associate
This past Thursday the wonderful and inspiring UA Librarians Mary Evangeliste and Leslie Sult visited SIRLS, facilitating a session on “Producing Successful Presentations.” There was a small student audience, and the session began with introductions followed by a facilitated discussion. We shared our own experiences, talking about what it is we have seen that’s made an impressive and memorable presentation, what it is that terrifies us the most about giving one of our own, and what we can each do personally to make our own experiences a little bit better. A number of things were suggested by the librarians and by the audience, and we walked away with notes on some important tricks of the trade, summarized here:
- If you’re in control of the topic of your presentation, be sure to pick something you are truly interested in. Talking about something you’re passionate about will create a much more engaging and meaningful presentation.
- Know your material. This is an easy one, and all it requires is time. But prepare, and really know your material. Know it inside and out so you can jump around, improvise, and respond to questions easily. You can also go off topic and change gears depending on reactions from the audience. Knowing your material will allow you to be more flexible, and flexibility can be a great advantage.
- Anticipate questions the audience might ask, especially if a topic is controversial. If you can’t answer a certain question that’s ok, just be honest that you don’t have the information at this time to answer it and move on.
- Feel good about sharing your knowledge and realize that you are doing the audience a favor. The audience wants to like you. Relax.
- When possible, begin to practice your talk at least 48 hours before you are going to give it. This allows you to get comfortable with your thought process and gives you enough time for the content to process and sink in. It will help you reach the whole “knowing your material” thing.
- Don’t just memorize. And don’t read from your paper or read from your PowerPoint. Speak like you’re a real person. You can be “professional” while still being genuine. Ideally, you should just have a brief outline to refer to if needed.
- Keep things interesting and have fun with it. Heck, bring candy or other goodies to throw to people in the audience. Ask them questions at unexpected times. It can be surprisingly effective and will help create enthusiasm among your audience.
- Do things that make you comfortable to help get rid of the nerves. You can talk to people in the audience before you begin your presentation; get to know them on a basic level as real people and it might make you less nervous. When you are able to, position yourself the way you feel the most comfortable – figure out if you prefer standing up behind a podium, walking around the audience, speaking from the back of the room, sitting down, etc. Find out what feels best to you and make your own style.
- If you are using a PowerPoint, use it mostly for visual clues. Don’t just put your outline up on your PowerPoint, and you should really only use one if it actually enhances your presentation.
- Know why you’re presenting in the first place. Think about why what you are talking about is important, and what you want the the audience to walk away with. Don’t try to squeeze in too much information. Present no more than 5 key points. You can always use handouts to give the audience further resources.
- Feel good about presenting. You are sharing your knowledge with others, and this is a very powerful thing.
The session is now up on YouTube so be sure to check it out. I want to say a big THANK YOU to Mary and Leslie for taking the time to share your wisdom, you are both fabulous
I am co-chairing the planning committee for the 3rd Annual Graduate Student Symposium to be held in November, and this year we decided to reach out beyond our local Library & Information Science (LIS) program for presenters. The symposium in the past has consisted of only current students in our local SIRLS program. A few months back, the planning committee thought hey, why not invite graduate students from other departments, and LIS students from other schools entirely? So we did. Collaboration and working with one another is such an important element in the professional world today so this seemed appropriate. We anticipated maybe getting a couple students from outside departments to submit their abstracts but thought there was little chance of getting a response from other schools. At least, if nothing else, we thought this would make other programs aware of what we are doing, and maybe set a foundation for future symposiums becoming national events.
Our deadline for receiving submissions is tomorrow. We have yet to receive one from another graduate department, unfortunately. We were hoping some students in law, journalism, english, or sociology would participate; library issues are so cross-disciplinary and we though someone outside LIS might be interested in discussing information policy & law, freedom of information, preservation of the written word, or the digital divide. While the non-response from around campus was a bit of a disappointment, we have actually received two submissions from students outside of our school, from LIS students in Maryland! One presentation and one poster session submission. If accepted, this means several students will be flying out to the desert from the east coast to share their research with us Tucsonans. We are thrilled at the possibility.
Why am I sharing all this? I think it illustrates that there are opportunities for graduate students across the country to connect and learn from one another, and it’s a fantastic feeling to know you are helping facilitate this connection. I wish there were more opportunities like this. While travel money can be an issue for students, there are plenty of scholarships and travel grants available out there; graduate student councils often offer these to make such opportunities possible. I think there should be better communication between ALA Student Chapters so that we can create more opportunities to come together and learn from one another. If you are in a graduate LIS program and planning a professional development event that other students might want to be involved in, communicate with your peer institutions to open the door to that possibility! Maybe all us students could come together to plan a national event where just students are presenting their research? ALA’s New Members Round Table (NMRT) might be interested in helping coordinate this. It can be difficult for students to get experience presenting in a professional setting prior to graduation, and what a great thing to make these opportunities available. It’s also a great way to allow students to network, collaborate and learn from one another.
P.S. There is still a day to submit your abstract to present at the symposium, please submit online here!
- Sunday I slept through the 8am PR Forum, which is a shame because that was something I was really looking forward to. Sleep was probably a better option for me in the long run, though. So the first session of the day was 10:30am.
- Titled Partnerships Produce Successful Cultural Programs, put on by the ALA Public Programs Office. This was a great presentation about PPO’s collaboration with the National Library of Medicine in creating travelling exhibitions. The exhibitions Frankenstein and The Changing Face of Medicine have been to academic, public, and school libraries around the country. I thought it was a fantastic idea for collaboration. Listening to the librarians talk about the success of the exhibits, which were displayed for eight weeks along with library-sponsored lectures, discussion groups, and film viewings, was inspiring. I also found it interesting that this was something taking place in large academic libraries as well as public libraries. It seems that academic libraries have the opportunity to be cultural centers on campus, and to offer extended educational programs to their students and the greater community. Most academic libraries don’t seem to take advantage of this; much of it could be due to the time constraints and budget cuts – creating these sorts of programs is not a priority. But it could be well worth the time; it could gain the library greater prominence on campus as well as increase campus support.
- Went to lunch with co-worker Brenna and fellow student Paula at an Irish Pub. good food but took a very long time to be served.
- Headed over to program Crossing the K-12/College Divide. Picked up the handouts and the presentation was interesting, talking about ways the Maricopa Community College district has reached out to highschools and their students. But I only made it through 20 minutes before getting extremely tired and not feeling so good, so I headed back to the hotel for a nap. Knowing I had a long night ahead of me I really appreciated that 2 hours of sleep.
- Woke up and got ready, then went with Brenna for a glass of wine at the hotel bar before walking over to the NMRT reception. Ran a few minutes late, and I blame Bush because 5 blocks were closed because he was at the Ford Theater and we had to take the long way to the Hyatt. Got to the reception and heard people from different ALA affiliations, then – Hooray! – LSO was presented with our Student Chapter of the Year Award. A big group of LSO Officers from 06-07 got up there and NMRT’s Terry Buckner presented our award. It was very cool to be recognized for all our hard work.
- Leslie Kent Kunkel, SIRLS Assistant Director, very generously treated us all to drinks at the Hyatt’s Martini Lounge. We then went back downstairs for the NMRT/3M Reception where free food and drinks were enjoyed as well as some dancing. I also got to see two friends I’d met in Prague, Emily from UNC and Kim from D.C. A very fun celebratory evening.
- Soon after 11pm most people had to leave to catch the Sunday metro. I went back to the hotel bar where I met one of my roommates, then Paula joined us and later Marissa (Illinois) and Xima (Santa Barbara) who were SIRLS grads and some of their friends. Another very late night, but it was great seeing people I don’t otherwise get a chance to see.
Overall a good conference experience. I squeezed in some good programs as well as networking opportunities. Don’t know if I’d want to do the conference in two days again, but if it’s that or nothing it’s well worth it.
Quick notes on the woes of travel the next day:
Woke up Monday, went to breakfast with my roomies at the Waffle Shop, then took the Metro to Union Station where I had to wait around for an hour but caught the train to BWI. Big mess at the airport with confusion over my ticket, and made my flight by with just 5 minutes to spare. Then sat on the runway for an hour and half before take-off, watching the ridiculously awful film Wild Hogs. Landed in Dallas at 5:25, the moment the flight back to Tucson was supposed to take-off. Fortunately, I thought at the time at least, it was delayed an hour. Then it was delayed another hour. Delayed until almost 9 then it’s announced the flight is cancelled. Luckily Shelley and Pat from my library were on the same boat as me. We got on standby for the next flight out – 75 people on standby we didn’t stand a chance. That flight gets delayed until 10:45. In the meantime we got some guacamole and drinks at an airport restaurant. Didn’t get on the next flight, of course. Transferred to standby for another flight and actually made it – wahoo! We were very close to staying overnight in the hotel and leaving at the 1pm flight the next day. Made it back to Tucson but our luggage didn’t (fortunately it arrived the next day). Finally got home in bed 2am and boy did I sleep well.
This past weekend I attended the End of Semester Party organized by LSO and held at SIRLS Director Jana Bradley‘s house. It was a great chance to meet some virtual peers in real life, as well as interact with the faculty and old friends. Highlights for me included meeting and getting to talk with LSO’s new Webmaster Jill from Phoenix, who came down for the event. I also got to spend some time with Coni, who started the program with me but graduated last December and I haven’t had a chance to see much since. She is now working at PCPL’s Main Library downtown, and with her passion and vitality is still my inspiration! I also had the opportunity to chat with Dereth, also down from Phoenix, who is a friend now graduating. She works at the State Library and was key in organizing the Books for Arizona Libraries Program. She has had wonderful experiences there; I know she will do many more great things in her future. A conversation that got me very excited was one I had with faculty member Kay, who it turns out is willing to help assist in the planning of LSO’s 3rd Annual Symposium to be held this coming fall. We’ve never had a faculty member on the planning committee in the past and I think she will be a fantastic resource for us.
You see, contrary to popular opinion these parties aren’t all about eating and drinking yourself silly. You can meet new people, reconnect with others, collaborate on ideas, get inspired, learn from each other, and create important networks all at the same time. But even if you happen to eat and drink yourself silly as well, they won’t judge you. They are librarians after all, I’m sure they’ve seen it all before.