By Maria Shellman
In December, I was given the opportunity to attend the ACRL/NY Symposium as a student scholarship recipient. The Symposium was my first professional development event since starting my M.S. in Library and Information Science program in August, and I was pleasantly surprised how well the Symposium aligned with the lectures, discussions, and assignments in my recent coursework. Throughout the day, I listened to speeches, presentations, and panel discussions that touched on different components of academic librarianship: collection development, reference work, information literacy instruction, consortia, vendor/library relationships, preservation, and accessibility.
I especially enjoyed my break-out session on information literacy instruction. After talking at length in my reference course about the methodologies behind teaching and the theoretical framework around information literacy, it was particularly enlightening to hear how practicing librarians approach this topic. In my group, we discussed different strategies about teaching undergraduates about evaluating sources, something quite relevant in this era of “fake news.” I was almost immediately struck by the similarities between the issues each librarian was facing, and everyone’s information literacy instruction methods. Despite the variation in background, location, institution size, and available resources, each librarian had similar stories to share. It was during this session that I came to realize that despite everyone’s differences at first glance, the core of academic librarianship solidified our experiences and provided opportunities for comradery, collaboration, and growth.
Throughout this brief immersion, I was able to find my niche within librarianship and confirm my commitment to pursue academic librarianship as my future career, whatever form that may take. I am very grateful that this ACRL/NY Symposium has allowed me to evaluate “The Mission” at this point in time, at the very start of my path towards academic librarianship.
Maria Shellman recently graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a B.A. in History of Art. At Bryn Mawr, she worked both as an Acquisitions Assistant and as a Special Collections Intern in the college library. Maria is currently pursuing her MSLIS at Syracuse University, where she is working in Bird Library as a Learning Commons Graduate Assistant. She can be found on LinkedIn