“People count,” Lucretia McClure mentioned in her Pearls of Wisdom speech on Saturday morning. While Internet search engines can provide job listings and news about industry developments, people humanize the profession and help transform prospects into careers. What better way to network than to take advantage of the Colleague Connection?
As a Simmons College graduate student and novice to MLA meetings, I found participating in the Colleague Connection was an effective pre-emptive strategy for determining how to make the most out of the MLA itinerary. I had the good fortune to be matched with Amy Donahue, MLIS, AHIP, a user education and reference librarian at the Medical College of Wisconsin. As a seasoned professional and MLA meeting veteran, Amy proved to be a tremendous resource for promptly responding to my inquiries about identifying “must see” sessions, discussing the networking importance of joining special interest groups (SIGs) of interest and regional chapters, as well as clarifying protocols. (Yes, it’s acceptable to quietly walk out of a session if you need to do so). While there were many friendly faces at the New Member / First Time Attendee Breakfast, it was a treat to finally meet Amy in person after weeks of correspondence and to learn more about her career path, particularly her experience as an Associate Fellow at the National Library of Medicine. In addition to learning about her many achievements, I know I’ll have to follow up with Amy in the future to learn how she became a certified Ultimate Frisbee coach.
I highly recommend the program for new members and students as it’s an effective way to network, learn more about various opportunities (and challenges) in the field, as well as guarantee you’ll know at least one person at the meeting.
Kudos to Ryan Harris and his team for organizing a terrific program.