As I prepared for this year’s ARLIS/NA conference in Indianapolis, the familiar feeling of excitement began to build as I thought about the idea of connecting with colleagues, sharing ideas and expanding my understanding of what it means to be a librarian. This year will be my fourth ARLIS/NA conference. My first was in 2006 in Banff, Canada. At that time I was still in library school and was nervous to be around all the professionals. I understood that I was new on the scene and needed to spend my time observing, and taking notes on who, what and how. I sort of felt like I was in a foreign country; still learning the language. Is there really that much of a difference between academic libraries and art & design school libraries to require separate division groups? What’s so difficult about outreach to faculty and departments? How do the Director and Circulation affect my role as a librarian? Four years later, I have a much better understanding of the differences and the challenges and the consequences. I’ve been a real librarian for two years and I am amazed and even inspired by how much I’ve learned.
Each year that I attend the ARLIS conference I meet and connect with more people. I learn who shares my interests, who would be a reliable partner for session moderation or panel session, who knows what ropes and who needs me to show them my ropes. It’s a great source of juice to power me through the year, but I find that I often need a bump here and there to keep me motivated until I see these colleagues again the next conference. Staying connected to colleagues and sharing and brainstorming ideas with them I think is so vital to my success as a librarian. During our ADSL Division discussion this year we also discussed ways to stay connected. This blog was one way we thought would help keep us juiced during the year. Outside of the ARLIS community, I also read the ACRLog and belong to the firstname.lastname@example.org listserv. What are some of the ways you all stay juiced during the year?