Published: June 14, 2023 by Shannon Broden
As someone who started studying librarianship to pivot from another career field, I haven’t had much opportunity to be exposed to librarianship outside of my classes. Events happened in my life that made me consider my options, and I discovered SJSU travel grants for current students. With the approval deadline fast approaching, I quickly requested and received approval to attend the California Library Conference in Sacramento, CA starting June 1st.st through 3rd, 2023. Around the same time, I learned that iSchool would be hosting a reception where students would have the opportunity to present posters of work and research they have done during the academic year; once I found out I was cleared to go to Sacramento, I signed up for a poster presenting opportunity as well.
Being able to attend the conference exposed me to a lot of things. I learned not only about the advancements in technology and user experience presented by Dr. Anthony Chow and my fellow students at SJSU iSchool, but other areas of library science as well. Having worked with interns in my previous career, I attended a career as a trainer seminar, so I could see how these mentoring and training skills could translate into a library environment. I also attended a panel on creating a window to the world of play on designing play spaces in libraries, largely because one of the presenters was from Spokane, Washington, where I grew up, and I loved seeing the work that had been done in the libraries there.
The presentation of the poster
Being able to participate in the poster presentation at the iSchool reception allowed me to do several things. I was able to present my research and poster work in virtual worlds – Second Life and SJSU’s Virtual Center for Archives and Records Administration (VCARA) in particular – to a variety of attendees. This allowed me to talk to a wide variety of librarians employed in academic, public, special library and archive environments. Being only at the end of my first year of the program, I found it extremely useful to learn so much about the possibilities. Also, meeting other students at different stages of the program, as well as alumni, really helped me.
What I learned
In addition to everything I’ve already mentioned, I took the time to browse the exhibit hall and talk to a wide range of exhibitors to learn about all the different vendor services available to libraries. Additionally, I took advantage of the resume review sessions offered by the California Library Association to help me determine what to highlight on my resume to transition from business to library. The whole event turned out to be an amazing and immersive education in the library world at the right time in my career, which I couldn’t have done without the help of the SJSU iSchool Travel Fellowship.
Editor’s note: SJSU iSchool strongly encourages students to attend professional conferences, but also realizes that it can be cost prohibitive. Travel scholarships are available to eligible students to help reduce financial burden and increase conference attendance. Shannon Broden, a student at iSchool, received one of these travel grants.