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Why I’m Useless at a Conference

Yesterday, I went to our state library conference. I have been to conferences before, but this was my first time as an official “librarian.” I mostly went to sessions, which was good for me. I can sit quietly and take notes as long as the presentation is interesting enough to keep my attention, and the ones I went to were. But there are many ways in which I’m a big fail as a librarian at a conference. One, when confronted with a favorite author, I just twisted my hands and stared. My coworkers were talking to David Levithan and another author after our first session when I came out of the bathroom, and instead of doing something cool and talking to him, I just stared at him thinking “I should really say something, but I have no idea what to say.” Then we walked away.

david-levithan-every-day-side-by-side

Then later in the afternoon, we went into the exhibit hall. I understand that most librarians come home with boxes and bags of free books they picked up while wandering around in there, but I came home with one. And it wasn’t even one that I wanted. I know you apparently just have to ask for books that you want, and the vendors will likely reach behind their magic curtains and draw out a copy for you, but my introverted-self refused to do so. To be fair, this is also in large part because I hate clutter and “stuff” in general, so I do not want to take home a bag of books I’ll never read or a bunch of posters and random crap I’ll never use. I did get a couple more galleys from one of the sessions I attended, and decided to be happy with that. I may not even read those. We’ll see.

I hate being sold things, but also hate to be rude, so I just avoid eye contact with any vendor that looks like they want to talk to me. I will grab a chocolate if their bowl is unattended though, ;). I think the fact that I look very young helps me in that situation, in that I do not look like someone who can make any decisions for a library (and I’m not anyway). I just hate salesy-ness. And fake small talk, which also makes me terrible at making connections with strangers, even if they work in the same field and have the same interests as me.

I did however have fun with my coworkers from another branch in my system, enjoyed the sessions I attended, and ended the day with hope that someday I will be better at conferences but also okay with it if I don’t end up one of those vulture librarians who have to mail 18 boxes of crap back to their library. 🙂

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What It’s All About

1

Two years after graduating with my MLS, I got my first real live librarian job. I didn’t study to be a youth librarian, but I knew that was what I wanted to do before I finished school. I worked as a Youth Services Assistant for two years, and learned a lot from many people in that position. Then I got promoted. And now I’m scared.

I’ve been in my new job for almost four months now, and I’m still not feeling very confident. It’s not that I think I can’t do my job fine, it’s just that it’s the first job I’ve had where I’m not sure I can be exceptional. I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed, and I miss my really good friend that I worked with as an assistant in another library branch.

I’m starting this blog as a place to vent about work. I do plan on reviewing the YA books I’m reading and talking about my programs/displays/whatever else I have going on that’s hopefully going well. But I will also be using this as a place to talk about the times I’m not sure about something or when I feel like I made a wrong decision or am in over my head. I read a lot of librarian blogs, mostly by veteran librarians with recipes for successful programming and excellent review writing that can only come from experience. I’m hoping this blog will give hope to other new librarians. Not everyone knows what they’re doing 100% of the time! I really like my job, and I want to be great at it. For now I will feign confidence and then talk about all my insecurities here until I actually feel it!