Librarians, like many professionals, like to talk about trends. Today I'm attending an emerging trend called the unconference. This Newbie Unconference is kindly hosted by the Southfield Public Library and organized by Christine Ayar (Adam Cardinal Maida Alumni Library) and Elizabeth Bollinger (Michigan State University). This event seeks to bring librarians together for discussion and the exchange of ideas.
While being a face-to-face gathering of librarians some discussion has revolved around the need to facilitate larger gatherings like MLA and ALA annual conferences virtually, as well, using the internet to extend the interaction of smaller groups. Some of us wondered, wouldn't it be nice if these professional organizations made more of an effort to embrace new librarians, help provide a clearer path into professional service?
One of the sessions we organized revolved around the idea of networking for personal, professional, institutional, and political reasons. The conversation branched into the areas of mentorship, involvement in professional organizations, the value of networks and how to utilize them effectively both face-to-face and virtually.
Unconferencing is fun! It allowed all of the attendees (@35) to have a voice, feel included, and hopefully learn exactly what they had come to learn. I'm excited to unconference again sometime in the future and pleased that the conversation can continue on the New Librarians unConference page.