Relatability and Results
Having heard rave reviews about the ARSL conference from several of my friends and colleagues, my expectations going into the conference were very high. I had heard the conference was like no other. I had heard attending gives you actual tools, programs, and ideas that can be implemented even at small and low-staffed libraries. I have attended many conferences before that advertise to be for all sizes of libraries, but at the end of the day, the small libraries get left out. Could the ARSL conference live up to the hype? Yes!
My first day I attended the pre-conference that dealt with homelessness in the library. While this was something I had often studied, I left the session with more information and a better understanding of how libraries can help and lead when dealing with those who struggle with homelessness. Even though this was such a difficult topic, I felt a sense of empowerment because I was given tools that, not only could I use immediately, but that would also make an impact in my work life and those of my patrons. Plus, I could share this information with my co-workers so they could feel empowered, too!
As I attended more sessions, I soon realized that the speakers were librarians and library staff with whom I could relate. As small library workers, we often find ourselves doing a little -or a lot- of everything. I could tell these speakers were passionate about their work and special projects. If they could find the time to implement the program they were teaching, then there was a possibility I could do it, too.
My goal for attending the ARSL conference was to give myself, and therefore my library, some much-needed renewal, and revitalization. I knew it was time for some changes, but I did not know which way to head. After attending the conference, I returned with renewed empathy for those we currently serve and a plan to use what I learned to focus on outreach programs and initiatives to reach those we do not serve.
I thoroughly enjoyed the ARSL conference. The level of relatability and results were beyond what I could have hoped for.