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

MSLA Conference Happenings

I recently attended the MSLA (Massachusetts School Library Association) conference at UMass Amherst, one of my favorite college campuses in the state. This event was MUCH smaller than the last conference I wrote about, the Young Adult Library Services (YALSA) conference. It was held on a Sunday and Monday with an optional social on Saturday night. Between the two days, I think there were about 300 people who attended. I had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of participants over wings and beer at the Saturday social at Hangar Pub which made me feel much more comfortable over the next two days of the conference. 

We had a tight group of Boston librarians that sat with each other at breakfasts and conference sessions. I loved having such a supportive group, and I aspire to be many of them; I am currently a library assistant and MLIS student, and all of them were full-time school librarians. Making those connections was so valuable, and connecting with librarians from Western Massachusetts (WeMA, as one of my friends calls it) was also valuable. I hope to move to this area to do teaching practicums for my final year at Simmons, so hearing information on which schools I should apply to was insightful. 

As the only queer and trans library assistant and probably the only person under 23 years old, I brought a unique perspective to the group. I helped dispel misinformation about the communities I belong to, as well as broader misconceptions about the state of libraries in Massachusetts. I hate acting as a monolith for the queer and trans communities, but in places where there is a distinct lack of representation, the obligation to educate and inform about pronouns, what’s polite and impolite, deadnames, dealing with parents, and more seems to fall on my shoulders. And my trapezius muscles are tired! I loved that people felt comfortable enough to start these conversations with me, but I needed a solid three days to decompress after this conference.

Overall, I had an incredible experience and I feel that I’ve made a name for myself in this organization. It is a relatively small community, and I found that I had mutual friends and acquaintances with many of the participants. Hopefully, I keep these relationships going and the ideas we discussed will come into fruition sooner rather than later!