Issue 6

August 2015 - The Conference

Letter from the Editors

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the conference issue of Bridge to Excellence (B2E). Prepare to join our contributors as they discover the vitality of the conference experience at the regional, national, and international level.

Raymond Pun takes us through his journey from Shanghai to Boston to receive an award and present a poster at the Special Libraries Association annual conference (SLA Boston), his first as a special librarian coming from a public library background.

Madalyn Baron shares her experience as a past in-person attendee enjoying the conference remotely for the first time and provides tips for you to do the same.

Sheryl Ramer Gesoff brings us in to the close-knit and supportive worlds of local chapters as they come together in Boston.

Daniel Barron interviews Sarah Davis, Vida Cohen, and Rebecca Hahn on their experience organizing SLA New York’s Conference and Expo, coming up on September 25th at Baruch College in New York City.

Enjoy a sneak peek at Zena Applebaum’s SLA NY Conference and Expo keynote on competitive intelligence for information professionals.

This year the SLA New York Chapter provided scholarships to several Pratt University graduate students to help fund their attendance at SLA Boston. Bridge to Excellence is proud to present reflections from two of these students on their experience attending conference for the first time:

Megan De Armond explores user experience from a background of arts and archives.

Coral Salomón discovers digital tools to enhance user engagement with information. Continue reading

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Blog

Spotlight on SLA NY 2015 Conference & Expo Keynote Speaker Zena Applebaum

SLA NY Conference & Expo

SLA New York is pleased to have Zena Applebaum as keynote speaker for the 2015 Conference & Expo. Her keynote will arm us with new tools and perspectives on “Using Competitive Intelligence to Transform the Role of Information Professionals”. As the Director of Competitive Intelligence at Bennett Jones LLP in Toronto and a much sought writer and speaker on the topic, Zena brings a unique perspective to intelligence and market dynamics as a result of her experience in business development, data management, marketing, and corporate research.

Zena will provide attendees with a view of how Competitive Intelligence can be used by a wide variety of organizations from financial services to legal, advertising to foundations, media to medical, and beyond — in fact, into all the areas represented in the NY SLA membership. Continue reading

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A First Timer at SLA Annual 2015: An Academic Librarian’s Perspective

By Raymond Pun

Wendy Davis from the USDA discusses Taking the Library to the World

Wendy Davis from the USDA discusses Taking the Library to the World

This year I was able to attend the SLA conference held in Boston, Massachusetts. It was an exciting opportunity because it was also my first time attending an SLA conference. In my library career, I’ve only attended ALA conferences and they were often overwhelming. In this reflection piece, I’ll share my thoughts about SLA and ALA and some of the highlights of SLA conference for me.

I was definitely looking forward to attending the SLA conference for a few reasons: Continue reading

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SLA Boston from Afar

By Madalyn Baron

Boston 2015

In my short time as an information professional, conferences and other professional development events have played a major role in the evolution of my career. As a recent MLS graduate, SLA Annual 2013 in San Diego truly welcomed me to the profession. The experience gave me confidence and convinced me to remain active in SLA and become more involved in professional groups such as METRO and my college alumni association. SLA 2014 in Vancouver enhanced my earlier experiences by allowing me to integrate what I learned directly into my specific job responsibilities. SLA NY’s conference in 2014 and METRO’s this past January facilitated improvements in my social media efforts on the job and improved the visuals in my deliverables. I was introduced to people with similar niche interests, who I would later collaborate with for brainstorming, problem solving, and presentations.

This year I was unable to attend SLA in Boston, yet I was pleasantly surprised at the number of valuable takeaways that I benefitted from at a distance. Continue reading

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How strong local chapters benefit individuals, the chapters, and the entire organization

By Sheryl Ramer Gesoff

“Some of my best friends are members of the Special Libraries Association. @SLAhq @RockyMtnSLA @SLANewEngland

–Maria Hugger (@shinydoom) on Twitter, identifying her friends in the local chapters, as well as the organization

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This tweet makes sense, intuitively. Professional and personal relationships are formed at lunches, happy hours, book clubs, and board meetings organized by local chapters. These encounters happen repeatedly and naturally, and strangers turn into acquaintances, friends, and even co-workers.

What roles do local chapters play? Continue reading

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Exploring Arts, Archives, and Special Libraries at SLA Boston 2015

By Megan De Armond

Image courtesy SLA B&F

Image courtesy SLA B&F

I started library school in the fall of 2014 thinking I might want to be an archivist, but not certain about which area I wanted to focus on. I attended SLA student chapter meetings at Pratt Institute (SLA@Pratt) and was inspired by then chapter President Sarah Davis’s enthusiasm about the organization and all it had to offer at the student, local chapter and national level. I joined SLA in January of this year prior to attending SLA NY’s Student Swing, which ended up leading to an internship at the American Museum of Natural History. In April of this year, during one of the student chapter meetings, Sarah talked about her great experience at the 2014 SLA conference in Vancouver and the connections she made and the sessions she enjoyed. She highly encouraged all of us at the meeting to go. I registered a few days later. I was eager to experience a library conference, but also skeptical about how fulfilling it might be. I had never attended a library conference, though I had attended other conferences.

I have found that librarians are generous with information and their time, and willing to offer suggestions and share ideas with anyone who asks. I’m beginning to believe this is a characteristic of the profession. At the SLA conference, I found the environment overall to be supportive; it seemed evident that the attendees wanted each other to succeed. Continue reading

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How to Organize a Conference

Behind the Scenes with SLA NY Conference and Expo organizers

By Daniel Barron

Sarah Davis, Vida Cohen, and Rebecca Hahn

Conference organizers Sarah Davis, Vida Cohen, and Rebecca Hahn

An annual conference may look just like the one that occurred twelve months before, but that doesn’t mean it organized itself. An outfit like the Special Libraries Association New York Chapter (SLA NY) relies exclusively on volunteers, and the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes at an event like the SLA New York Conference & Expo often means that a fresh group of planners is needed every year.

All three of this year’s principle organizers—Rebecca Hahn (research assistant at the Institute for Agean Prehistory), Sarah Davis (information and research coordinator at Redeemer City to City) and Vida Cohen (independent consultant and long-time SLA NY contributor)—were volunteers at the 2014 conference and were recruited by last year’s organizers, current SLA NY President Marcy Winker and President-Elect Emma Davidson, to run the 2015 event. Continue reading

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SLA Boston 2015: Lessons and Observations from a First-Time Attendee

By Coral Salomón

Image courtesy SLA B&F

Image courtesy SLA B&F

I had the opportunity to attend my first professional conference this summer at the SLA 2015 Annual Conference in Boston. I am a Library and Information Science student interested in the digital humanities and how they fit within special libraries and archives. I am also interested in how digital applications can be used to maximize engagement and further the mission of libraries and cultural heritage institutions. I attended the conference because I wanted to learn more about the type of tools available to librarians, hear practical advice from professionals, and learn about exciting initiatives occurring in knowledge organization institutions across the country.

Below are several lessons and observations I was able to absorb throughout my time in Boston. Continue reading

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