Yesterday, I arrived in Cincinnati/Greater Kentucky for the 8th National Conference of African American Librarians. The theme for this year’s conference is: Culture Keepers VIII: Challenges of the 21st Century – Empowering People, Changing Lives. I’m one of the graduate student’s that won a scholarship to attend. Since I’ve been here everything has been smooth and my room is off the chain. I just picked up my conference tickets to the major events that I signed up for during this week. I believe that I’m going to learn a lot, network with new people, and present my own research,
The Keynote Speaker is Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (Yale, 2011). Dr. Harris-Perry is also the host of MSNBC’s weekend talk show Melissa Harris-Perry. She will participate in an onstage conversation/interview followed by questions from the audience. Our closing speaker is Congressman John Lewis. He is often called one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced. There will be a host of authors, sessions, speakers, and a huge exhibit going on during the conference. This conference is off the chain in my opinion! I feel the love as I type with regard to what is going to happen this week.
When I think about the theme, I believe that I’m already in line with preserving African American history and art. I believe that I empower others by sharing information, encouraging people to be their best, and I show and prove through my actions on a daily basis that librarianship is important and progressive. I’m blessed to be in the position that I am today and I would not change it for anything in the world. Last night, I was able to sit and talk with one of my favorite librarian’s in the field. She told me that it is important to continue to go out for opportunities in the field and to also not forget the goal at hand. Trust, I do realize this and have a paper due on Friday that I have to get in despite being at a conference this week (and it will get done)!
There is no better time than now for African American Librarians to step up to the plate and change things within the field and recruit new professionals, students, and advocates to represent our culture. I will get the chance to share some of the research that I’ve been conducting as a graduate student and I think that is powerful and an honor to have been considered. The work that I’m interested in pertains to library express stations in cultural centers and museums in the United States — a one stop library pop_up shop for new citizens of the United States and for community resources. I will present my work on Saturday.
I will be blogging about the entire conference via my Facebook Fan Page and posting photos via my photo blog on Instagram. There is so much going on throughout this week. I will be attending a Pre-Conference Session today entitled: “Culture Keepers: Who Are They, What DO They Do, and How Can I Become One?” –Then I will be having dinner and taking a beautiful walk on the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. I will check back in later this week with an update about the conference.
I finally made it back to Texas. I’m still debriefing from the 8th African American Librarian Conference. It was a blast and then some. I learned so much that I’m still on a hiatus of some sort about all of this information that I received. This was one of the best conferences that I’ve attended in a long time. I learned so much about my own character and what I’ve developed in to, it felt like an out-of-body experience. Then what I took from the different sessions and networking was worth it and then some!
First and foremost it felt good to be around people and network within my own culture, and having the ability to be proud of them at the same time for their many accomplishments in librarianship. I learned a lot about presenting information and viewing an audience from the standpoint of standing behind a podium. It was a great feeling to be able to trust my thoughts, vision, and research with a group of people who were interested in what I am doing and going to do in the future. I presented my research on Library Express Sessions, and presented with a group on Technology.
I believe that my work was well-received. I have some improvements that I want to work on with regard to my next presentation on the research that I’m conducting right now. It all put me in the right place mentally for these next two semesters. Not to mention, I got to be around a lot of hip people in the field of librarianship, that are happy with what they do on a daily basis. I believe that I was certainly renewed in what I want to do as an Art Librarian and personal future plans for my life.
Everything that I went through to get to this conference was worth it and I will never forget this experience and look forward to the next conference that will be hosted in St. Louis, Missouri.