This interview was originally posted on the ALIA Students and New Graduates blog on June 27, 2016. We loved it so much we wanted to share it on the NLS8 blog as well! Many thanks to ALIA SNGG for permission to repost, and to Emily Beimers for her excellent tips to future NLS attendees!
How would you describe NLS for someone who has never been before?
NLS (New Librarians’ Symposium) is a conference for the newbies in the field. Don’t be put off if you’re not quite a librarian yet, I went to NLS6 when I was a student and it was one of the best things I’ve done thus far in my journey to becoming a librarian. I was immediately immersed in a sea of like-minded individuals who were ready and willing to answer my million and one questions.
Tell me about what it’s like attending a symposium full of new (and aspiring) librarians?
Well for anyone who’s ever been to a conference you’ll know that you go into a special kind of bubble. The days are jam-packed with speakers and networking. If you’re not naturally a people person don’t let the networking put you off, you can really form some valuable connections at these conferences, and it’s worth putting yourself out there to meet people. I personally found that everyone I met at the conference was open to getting to know others, the sessions will provide ample topics of conversation!
Why should people go to this symposium?
Consider NLS as a unique opportunity to go to a conference designed just for you. There’s some other fabulous library/information conferences around, but this one is targeted which really means more bang for your buck…the sessions will be targeted to your career stage!
It sounds like a useful symposium…what did you get out of it?
I got inspired! As a student trying to find my way in the library world I made the decision to be brave and head to NLS6, a conference where I knew hardly anyone. The days were a whirlwind of great speakers and inspiring presentations that reaffirmed that I had chosen a good path. I also made a whole lot of connections. Networking is important. It’s important because it can help you get jobs, but I think it’s even more important to realise there are other people out there who face similar challenges. They’re valuable sources of information, and learning is a million times better when you do it with other people.
If someone decides to go to NLS, what are your best tips for having a great time?
A few things:
- If you can, stay in one of the NLS recommended accommodation locations. When I went I stayed in a recommended hostel and there were other conference attendees staying there…instant friends. We were able to walk to the conference together each day, debrief and go out to dinner together! Plus I’m still in contact with at least one of my hostel buddies now, she’s based in New Zealand and Iove seeing her library related adventures through social media.
- If there are any bursaries/grants on offer…apply for them! I submitted a creative entry for a bursary and ended up getting $500 to go towards my flights and accommodation!
- Get social. There are usually meet ups and tweet ups, and everything in between happening at NLS. I went to a dinner on my first night with a bunch of strangers and it really was a great start to the conference as I met people there that I continued to connect with over the course of the conference.
- Tweet. I’m only a sometimes tweeter, but tweeting can add a valuable dimension to your conference experience. It’s fun meeting people you’ve tweeted to, and it can be an instant point of connection. It’s also a really great way of sharing what you’ve learned with people who can’t be at the conference. Try your hand at live tweeting a session or two (or all), it can really help you focus and draw important points out of session. There’s also often opportunities for tweeters to get together at tweet ups.
- Take a business card. It doesn’t matter if you don’t an ‘official’ one. Make one with your name, your email and if you’re a tweeter your twitter handle. It’s a really helpful tool to use to keep track of the people you meet (getting their cards), and helping them keep track of you! When I went I got crafty and hand stamped cards (job: aspiring librarian).
- Finally…HAVE FUN. Enjoy your time meeting others, learning new things and just generally having a grand old time.
By: Emily Beimers