What a ride academic year 2018-19 was for me. I left Ohio for a visiting librarian role in Maryland, yet felt more connected to ALAO than ever. My membership in ALAO has provided networking, mentorship, and professional development during major changes in my career.
Throughout the year, I’ve had not one, but two library leaders helping me as part of the ALAO mentoring program: Debra Andreadis of Denison University and Krista McDonald of Miami University Hamilton. From my mentors, I have gotten tips on meeting etiquette, salary negotiation, and writing cover letters–things that admittedly sound a bit dull on paper, but have made for great conversation and immensely useful meetings. I have valued our brainstorming sessions, and I appreciate always having someone to turn to with my often highly specific questions.
In the same year, I went from a record of zero academic library conferences to attendance at both ALAO and ACRL. I presented a poster at ALAO, learned what others are doing in their approaches to student employee training, and reconnected with people who had been my co-workers just a few months prior. This marked my first poster presentation at a library conference, and I encountered so many peers with genuine interest in the work I have done and thoughtful questions that led to my own reflection.
To support my conference costs for ACRL, I earned a scholarship from ALAO, for which I am deeply grateful. Attending ACRL, I saw so many Ohio colleagues from my master’s program, work, and networking–whether intentionally or not–and caught up on their personal and professional achievements. I’m not an Ohioan anymore except in spirit, but I was overwhelmed with the number of wonderful colleagues who welcomed me back into the fold at the ALAO-sponsored taco party (which had great food along with the great company). At ACRL’s trivia night, I marveled at my team’s impressive abilities to recall the most minute details about, among other things, Barry Goldwater. One of my favorite things about librarianship is the general willingness to share ideas and grow the field, but I have a strong suspicion Ohio library people have the most fun.
As I’ve made the transition from assistant to librarian, Ohioan to Marylander, I have a dynamic network of Ohio colleagues (the best state for libraries, but don’t tell the others) whose influence spans state divides. Even if I am in the trenches, I know there are excellent colleagues here alongside me.
–Jillian Sandy, St. Mary’s College of Maryland