Why should YOU be at Conference? NJLA Success Stories

When conference registration rolls around (registration opens February 1 for #NJLA17!) we always hope that our colleagues run into their director's office asking about when they can attend conference. We know this is not always the case for two reasons: many librarians do not see the value for themselves, and many directors struggle with budgeting and scheduling to allow employees to go. With that in mind, we on the Conference Subcommittee thought we would share two NJLA Conference success stories to help demonstrate the value of conference from professional and personal perspectives. We like to call these "Success Stories," or the elevator speech for convincing managers, so follow along below for information on what others have gained, and what's there to gain for yourself and your library! 


Success story 1: 

Julie Brown, Adult Programming Librarian at the Ocean City Free Public Library, Conference 1st-timer last year.  Julie told us that the various panels she attended last year really helped her, especially the photography panel from which applies the suggestions and techniques she learned daily while managing social media and documenting programs.  She also mentioned that Jay Asher--one of last year's keynote speakers--was amazing and found his talk really engaging.  As a new Librarian in New Jersey, Julie felt conference provided her with a great networking opportunity.  As a result of the connections she made at Conference, she has maintained contact with other programming librarians statewide, with whom she has exchanged ideas, resources, and information about professional development.  Julie is excited to attend again this year and, even though she lives close by, might stay overnight.  That is so, in her own words, she doesn't "miss anything."


Success story 2

Leslie Murtha, Librarian at The William Spangler Library, Atlantic Cape Community College, Conference-goer for 23 years who has "missed very few" in that time.  

Leslie told us that Conference is the highlight of her year, professionally.  One reason for this is because it's difficult for her, and many other librarians she imagines, to get to National Conferences.  Not that she's sacrificing quality, since the NJLA Conference gives her "opportunities for catching up on professional developments, learning new skills, and getting new ideas."  Like Julie, Leslie values the Conference's networking opportunities, which lets her see friends from other parts of the state, reconnect with seldom-seen colleagues, and make new connections across professional lines.  For this long-time Conference attendee, Conference is nothing less than "a place where we can share tools and research, honor our sages and innovators, and lift our voices together about common concerns."  Leslie notes that she always comes away from Conference with "new ideas, new understandings, and a sense of renewal."  

And while we here at the Conference Committee did not bribe these librarians to say these things, we could not agree more. And this is just a sampling of some of the wonderful things your colleagues have to say about their conference experiences.

So if you need some help convincing your management that you should get the opportunity to attend conference this year, or if you need some reminders for yourself about the importance of attending conference as a library professional in New Jersey, we hope you'll take some advice from your colleagues above and join Julie and Leslie at the 2017 NJLA Conference. Make your own success story that you can share with us in the years to come


Michael Stirm and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee