BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award Committee

Ilana Barnes is the recipient of the 2012 BRASS Gale Cengage Learning student travel award. We thought it would be good for everyone to read in Ilana’s own words what this award meant to her:

“I am extremely grateful to Gale Cengage Learning and BRASS for providing me with the opportunity to go to the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California. The conference was an enlightening and exciting experience. It benefited me greatly professionally.

“Attending the ALA annual conference gave me many opportunities to network with my new colleagues and reconnect with old ones. While at the conference, I met many librarians who gave loads of useful advice for a librarian just starting out. Sometimes just sitting next to someone on a bench can be a great moment for serendipitous interaction. At one point I took a brief break between sessions on a bench and had a 30 minute conversation with a San Francisco public libraries manager who gave me several new ideas for social media and makerspaces projects. I also ran into librarians from my undergraduate and library education as well as recent alumnae from my library school.

“I also had the chance to network with other business librarians just like me. It was especially good to talk to other new business librarians who were going through similar adjustments to their new jobs. Some of the new business librarians I met even connected after the conference and are planning to have monthly “meetings” to build upon the relationships we started at ALA.

“For a recent graduate like me, transitioning from student to practitioner can be very intimidating and awkward. I am often not always sure where to make connections and with whom. The whole BRASS group treated me like a local celebrity throughout the conference and really went out of their way to include me and introduce me to other members. By the end of the conference, I felt very much like part of the group. I haven’t volunteered for any committees, but I did learn much more about the committee structure that I could ever have gleaned from reading ALA Connect pages. With what I learned at the conference, I feel like the whole process is much more approachable and there are many different ways that I could contribute.

“My favorite part of the conference was the BRASS discussion group. This was also my favorite part of last year’s conference as well. The discussion was very informative about free data resources, but I really love seeing the passion that Business Librarians have for their patrons, their sources and their work.

“My advice to other students is to apply for this award. Not only did it offer me the economic ability to attend the ALA Annual Conference, but the networking and social resources made my time in Anaheim the happiest place on Earth for a new business librarian.”

Carol L. Anderson, Chair, 2011-2012