As a student and first-time conference attendee, I was thrilled to sign up for Colleague Connection. When I first looked at the programming schedule, I had no idea how I would begin to narrow down everything that I wanted to attend- signing up for some guidance sounded like quite the saving grace! And it has been such a rewarding experience to meet people that I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.
I have been especially lucky that the friend who I traveled with also signed up for Colleague Connection- so not only have I been able to meet and talk with my own mentor, I have been able to take advantage of hers as well. As a student, learning about different libraries, systems, and geographic areas from the people who live and work there is invaluable information. Hearing personal stories about job responsibilities, career paths, and life-work balance is important when embarking on a job search, and I’m grateful that I could take advantage of two generous and insightful mentors.
They were also very helpful in navigating through the conference- as a student, new member, and first-time attendee, the sheer volume of programs to attend was overwhelming. Looking at the program, I wanted to go to several things all in the same time slot (a common problem, I found out!), and learned that it’s completely normal for people to bounce back and forth between programs. I also learned more about getting involved with MLA, and various sections and SIGs that I can and should explore. It was wonderful to hear from people who had been on committees and involved in section leadership that they welcome new grads, and not just experienced librarians.
I would highly recommend participating in Colleague Connection to both new members and seasoned librarians- I definitely enjoyed meeting the people that I worked with, and learned a lot from the experience!