Crystal M. Cutler | firstname.lastname@example.org
Crystal Cutler works in a corporate library and is completing her MS LIS degree. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The Opening Keynotes set the tone; Mary Matalin on aggregate tools, order versus random organization and accountabilities even for 3rd graders. Followed by husband James Carville, "Today, the availability of information is unlike anything we've ever known. What then, happens to knowledge?" SLA Conference 2010 was an important discussion about value, service and the future of things. But for a graduate student/first-time attendee/mid-career changer like me, it was pure gold; focusing me for the career ahead. More than a call to a series of do-able actions, it was a blueprint for personal and professional success in these changing times.
New Orleans was the perfect backdrop, with its tenacity and timeless beauty. Carville surmised it this way, as a boy in New Orleans, they'd each get a bag of clams then go on a mission to see how many different ways they could cook them. Variety, creativity; these were the N’Orleans way. Another presenter asserted, "There are an infinite number of things you can do with your degree. Throw away your resume. Think skills not roles. Don't talk to HR. Go out and find the manager or leader that's going to hire you." Each enthralling session encouraged attendees to focus on their service. Whether employed or not, envision yourselves as Consultants with employers and patrons as clients of our services. Think of their needs. Help others. Find others to help you. Promote yourself and your team.
Continue to develop professionally. Improve knowledge. Stay current and on the leading edge of trends. Then go forth and market, brand, blog! Show up confident, competent and credible. Manage. Collaborate. Expand beyond your comfort zone. Be thought leaders. Innovate. Leverage social networks, media, technologies, even research to be positioned as players at the table when problems are defined. Ask yourselves, why do you do what you do? What value do you have? Then demonstrate it. Show that you can help solve problems. Know where your organization is going to be in three years and help them get there. Identify a gap and fill it. Then, mentor! It feeds back into this industry.
We have so many resources at our fingertips we really shouldn’t save them all for our client’s use. Utilize them to build backroom conversations, talking points and relationships. Make relationship deposits before attempting any withdrawals. As our own best resource we should all talk to friends and peers, then read-watch-do. Utilize Universal Principles of Reciprocation to return favors over and over again. And of Scarcity; the less something is available, the more it is wanted. We must increase our value. Be leaders, influencers, advocates for libraries, librarians/information professionals and the profession. Measure, evaluate and assess your achievements, time spent, costs and results. Change isn't all bad. Often, it comes bearing opportunities and career agility. This conference was just what I needed to complete my study and transformation. I returned home and like Nicholas Carr suggested in his closing address, continued to deeply absorb. Think I’ll start planning for 2011.