Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Virtual Conferences

In my last post of the spring semester, I mentioned how due to COVID-19 many conferences are now going virtual.  I have never been able to attend an in-person conference before because of my school and work schedule, as well as financial reasons, but virtual conferences are significantly cheaper (or free in some cases!), and you can attend from the comfort of your own home.  I still hope to go to a real-life conference before I graduate (assuming the pandemic and vaccines and everything works out), but for now, I’m taking advantage of virtual opportunities. 

The ALA Annual 2020 Conference was initially supposed to be held in Chicago this year; however, it was moved online and transformed into ALA Virtual: Community Through Connection.  It was held from June 24-26 online.  Admittedly, I know it’s not the same experience—I’m sitting in my room, alone, with my laptop and my headphones on instead of being around tons of people after all!  If you compare this to Katie’s experience at ALA Annual last year, and at ALA Midwinter earlier this year,  virtual conferencing is quite a different experience!  Instead of an in-person exhibit hall you instead viewed “virtual booths” in a virtual exhibit hall, heard about new releases through 15 minute “Book Buzz Bite” presentations, and did everything virtually.  Instead of physically attending sessions and listening to speakers and presentations, you watched them online via a video link.   If you wanted more discussion, there were options for chatting with other attendees virtually.    I personally couldn’t watch the sessions live or participate in any of the chats due to my schedule so I didn’t get the full virtual conference experience, but I did watch the sessions on-demand, and I have access to them for a full year.  Even though the virtual conference was certainly a different experience than an in-person conference, I definitely learned a lot and really enjoyed the experience!  “Attending” virtual conferences is great for furthering your education, professional development, and just learning more about the library community in general. 

If you are looking to do some professional development and learn more about the library community, the ACRL had a virtual event, Together Wherever: A Free Virtual Event From ACRL, from June 8-12 2020.  It was a week of virtual programming and networking opportunities for the academic and research library communities!  I will admit, I didn’t know about this until after it happened, but recordings of the sessions are freely available online for anyone to watch! If you are interested, you can check out the sessions here.  I highly recommend watching some of the sessions, especially if you are interested in academic libraries!  

There may be some more virtual opportunities coming up, so keep your eyes peeled!