Shirley Zhao | firstname.lastname@example.org
Shirley is currently enrolled in a dual degree program for an MS in Mathematics at New York University and for an MSLIS at Long Island University's Palmer School, while planning to work part-time in three positions: student assistant in the Manhattan Palmer School office, student assistant in Courant Library, and teaching assistant in NYU's Math Department.
I quickly discovered that the SLA Annual Conference was both a very exciting and a very tiring experience. There were so many talks to attend, so many vendors to visit, so many people to meet, and so very little time to accomplish everything! At times I wished there were several copies of me so I could attend more events.
Upon arrival, I was warmly welcomed by the Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics (PAM) Division and invited to their Newcomer's Luncheon on Sunday where I met my conference buddy, Ruth Kneale, and other first-timers. I was amazed by the stories that each person told about their lives and work. This was where I met Pavlinka Kovatcheva who quickly became another conference buddy. She flew in from South Africa on a PAM scholarship to attend the conference and does amazing work at her library. Along the way, I bumped into some familiar faces and also made some new acquaintanceships. This was the first time I have ever talked to so many people about pursuing dual master's degrees and my future plans.
I attended several talks and PAM-sponsored roundtables. It was eye-opening to learn about different technologies used in libraries and about issues that affect our profession. One interesting talk I attended was titled “Drupal Use in Libraries.” I have since done much research on Drupal and can't wait to try building a website with it. The best part of this conference was that it wasn't purely professional. It had a networking and social side to it, too. The Academic Division held an open house and dance party on Sunday and the Divisions of Information Technology, Leadership and Management, and PAM together held a fantastic dance party on Tuesday.
The INFO-EXPO was the most awe-inspiring event of the conference. I walked into the hall and was astounded by the number of booths set up and the number of professionals gathered in one place. It took me all three days to fully explore the scene. Every vendor wanted to talk to me and introduce me to their product. Participating in the passport game was a great way to motivate people like myself to approach some booths. At the end of the day, I accumulated so many free giveaways that I could barely carry everything!
After making some new friends, I had a chance to explore the city of New Orleans with company. New Orleans is a beautiful and historic city. The people are friendly and the food is great, especially the gumbo and jambalaya at Mother's Restaurant and charboiled oysters at Drago's Seafood Restaurant. I even rode a streetcar along Canal Street for the first time.
All my experiences would not have been possible without the aid of the SLA-NY scholarship. Thank you to everyone on the scholarship committee. I would also like to thank those who gave me invaluable advice and guidance prior to the trip: Pauline Rothstein, Alice Flynn, Carol Hutchins, Marlene Wong, Janet Spongberg, Margaret Smith, James Callahan, and Pau Atela.