Saturday, October 16, 2010

Georgia COMO Conference 2010

I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the Georgia Council Of Media Organizations (COMO) XXII conference in Athens GA. I was a panelist for the October 14 program "Getting Involved: Professional Organizations and the Opportunity to Make a Difference, Stay Connected, and Build Relationships". The program was sponsored by the Georgia Library Association Paraprofessional Division. Kara Mullen and Ashley Dupuy were the other two panelists. Karen Walton was the panel moderator.

Georgia COMO panel moderator and presenters
Karen Walton, Kara Mullen, Ashley Dupuy, and Courtney Young

My role was to talk about getting involved in the American Library Association. I believe active participation in an association is beneficial to both the individual and the association. I have applied the skills and best practices learned from my involvement in ALA to my day-to-day work. Some of the satisfaction I have in my career has resulted from my involvement in the association. At the same time, those day-to-day happenings inform my perspective and work in the association. My leadership skills, which are still in development, are rooted in my involvement with ALA and were the key to me landing my current position.

I also highlighted opportunities and benefits with regards to ALA, particularly New Members Round Table and the Library Support Staff Interests Round Table, as great places to start and get to know what is often perceived as a large and unwieldy organization. Active participation by paraprofessionals and library support staff is important to the association. It reflects another dimension of diversity within libraries. ALA membership and involvement also means access to travel grants and scholarships to attend conferences, the Emerging Leaders program, and the Spectrum Scholarship. I also talked about the ALA-APA Library Staff Certification Program that was highlighted in other sessions by the GLA Paraprofessional Division.

I did not get to Athens in time to hear Michael Porter's keynote "Our Libraries, Our Communities: Technology Evolution, Change and Success". However, conference attendees who did were energized and buzzing about his presentation. Fortunately I did catch up with Michael before and after my session. That evening I had the pleasure of attending the GLA Awards Banquet dinner. The event kicked off with a highly entertaining Battledecks Competition. During dessert, ALA President Roberta Stevens talked about 21st Century Libraries. Various well-deserved award winners were recognized, and the 2011 board was installed.

Thank you GLA and Athens for a great conference!

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