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November 28, 2012 / Christian M.

Career Development Event Recap

Me and Maura at the Welcome Table

In June I wrote about joining my school’s student chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA). My main project as Content Manager has been to create and manage the new website, and send out information on upcoming events via email and social media. I have really enjoyed my experience with the group this semester. I feel a little more connected to the student body and have had the opportunity to get to know more of my fellow students.

Our big event for this semester was the “Career Development Knowledge Cafe” on November 17th. We invited librarians to come share their professional experience and advice, we also had representatives from the D.C. chapter of SLA to talk about association membership and employment assistance services, and a resume reviewer.  We served lunch as well.

Professionals talking to students and recent grads during a breakout session.

Our approach was a combination of the knowledge cafe model and speed mentoring. We started and ended the event with 30 minutes for networking. During the breakout sessions, the librarians sat 1 or 2 to a table, and the students would rotate tables talking to the librarians they were interested in meeting. We provided eight 15-minute sessions and would ring a bell at the end of each 15-minutes. Students were not required to move on; they could remain at a table longer if desired.

It was a great success. Everyone seemed to enjoy and benefit from the experience. We had 16 professionals (including the DC/SLA reps) and 36 students/recent grads. I personally had the opportunity to speak with a digital acquisitions librarian from Catholic University, an evidence-based resources librarian from the American Physical Therapy Association, a reference librarian from the National Library of Medicine, and a reference librarian from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. I also spoke with the DC/SLA reps.

To see pictures and the names of the professionals, visit the SLA/CUA website.

My contributions to planning and conducting the event included assisting in recruiting library professionals (yay for having a small network of people I can call on!), marketing the event to our student body through emails and website content, staffing the welcome table, keeping time during breakout sessions, and helping with clean up.

Hosting this event seemed like a very daunting task when our group first started discussing it. But looking back, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be. It was a great team effort! 🙂

What student activities are you involved in this semester? What skills are you learning or being able to put into practice?


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