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Attending ACRL for the first time

April 22, 2013

As a rather busy grad student, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to attend ACRL 2013, but my advisor highly recommended the conference. So I registered, drove six hours in my car (thankfully accompanied by a librarian from UIowa), and arrived excited and yet unsure what to expect from ACRL.

My first evening in Indianapolis I attended the ACRL 101 session, which was packed, and then I got a front row seat at Battledecks. If you’ve never attended a Battledecks session before, or you don’t know what it is, you should look into it because it is a blast. You may not learn about the most recent research in the field, but you will laugh so hard that tears come to your eyes, and you will meet other librarians who enjoy having a good sense of humor. For me, this was a great way to begin the conference, and to remember that librarians are wonderfully welcoming people.

There were so many interesting sessions at ACRL that I cannot even begin to describe them without copying from my copious notes, and that might grow tedious. Let me just say instead that the sessions were all I hoped for and more. They gave me new perspectives, inspired me, and left me exhilarated about my chosen profession. I also attended THATCamp ACRL, which allowed me to participate in a number of exciting projects, all in the span of one day. I even learned to make an ebook! I also met some wonderful people while I was at ACRL, and got to know some people that I had only “met” via social media.

I was worried that I would feel lonely and awkward attending ACRL by myself, but that was never the case. I instead felt that was I part of the community of librarians, even though I was a graduate student who was new to ACRL. When I feared I would eat alone, librarians who did not know me welcomed me at their table. When I had a bit of a fangirl moment with a researcher I admire, that researcher was kind to me and later talked with me about her work. ACRL and the people I met there empowered me to be the librarian I know I can be, and for that I am ever so glad that I attended. I am also grateful to everyone I met while I was there for making me feel welcome. I hope to see you all again next time!

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