21:3 (2006:Sept) 21st Annual Conference: Report from Award Winners

August 30, 2006 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Awards & Recognition, Conference | Leave a comment


Sarah Sutton, Awards & Recognition Committee 

For the 2006 NASIG awards, grants, and scholarships, the Awards & Recognition Committee received numerous applications from worthy candidates.  The review process was again blind for all awards.  The identities of the winners were not revealed to the committee members until the scores were tallied and the winners were selected according to established criteria.  For 2006, the committee awarded one Fritz Schwartz Serials Education Scholarship, four Student Grants, one Mexico Student Grant, one Horizon Award, and the first ever NASIG Serials Specialist Award.  The awards covered the cost of travel; room, board, and registration fees for the 21st NASIG Conference held in Denver, CO; and a one-year NASIG membership.  In addition, the Fritz Schwartz Scholarship winner received $3,000 to help defray the costs of library school tuition.  The 2006 award winners are as follows: 

Gregory Schmidt, University of Alabama
Sarah Morris, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lisa Harrington, Simmons College
Laura Baker,Simmons College 

Martha Alejandra Alatorre Betancourt, Universidad Autonoma De San Luis Potosi Escuela De Bibliotecologia E nformacion 

Claire Rasmussen, University of Wisconsin at Madison 

Jennifer Arnold, Central Piedmont Community College

Wendy Lichte, Arizona State University

The Awards & Recognition Committee traditionally asks all of our award recipients to provide feedback about their conference experience.  Below are their responses to the Committee’s questionnaire. 

Why do you feel it is worthwhile for students/newcomers to attend a NASIG conference? 

–NASIG is an informative, as well as fun, opportunity for students to explore the evolving world of serials. Students are introduced to the major currents of discussion pursued by serials librarians, vendors and publishers. The formal information sessions and informal conversations among colleagues provide extremely current and practical insights into the challenges and rewards of working with serials in today’s electronic world. 

–Learn about topical issues affecting serials. Networking with people that have similar jobs from all over North America. 

–Networking, exposure to practices and an introduction to what’s going on in the world of serials. 

–On the surface, the NASIG conference serves as an introduction to the wide range of topics that fall under the subject of scholarly communications. The sessions themselves were informative and challenging, and even the act of registration for the NASIG conference could be considered educational for a library student. The sessions sometimes felt overwhelming, but I came away from the conference with a desire to incorporate some of the topics into future research papers. This way, I will be able to build upon the foundation of knowledge I received at the NASIG conference. Beyond the valuable content of the sessions, the act of participation in a NASIG conference is valuable for networking among leaders in the field of scholarly communication. The diversity of career paths available to librarians as seen at NASIG was encouraging. The conference was large enough to give a wide view of the serials landscape, but small enough that I felt I was able to make some personal connections that will last my whole career. On a lighter note, the conference was great fun. The opportunities for going out and enjoying a spectacular locale were plenty. At a conference of this size, there was never a dull moment. 

The NASIG conference is a great opportunity to meet serials librarians who are already working in the field and who therefore have a lot of practical knowledge and advice to share. The conference sessions are also very informative and give students a real-world perspective on serials work. 

Because Mexican students have an opportunity to introduce themselves into a larger world of information, people working in the same line, and also get more horizons and chances to work. 

It is definitely worthwhile for newcomers to the field of serials to attend a NASIG conference! Not only do the conference sessions provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about all the elements of serials – publishing, cataloging, providing access, etc. – but the casual and friendly environment is perfect in helping newcomers become active in the field and hopefully in the organization. 

Having the opportunity to hear professionals in the serials industry, including librarians and vendors and publishers, is invaluable to a prospective librarian. Nothing replaces having the experience of speaking with others about what they do and learning from both the sessions as well as the informal conversations you have at NASIG. 

How did attending the conference benefit you personally? 

NASIG was truly a wonderful and rewarding experience both personally and professionally. I approached the conference with some trepidation as a first time professional conference attendee. My NASIG welcome left no room for further anxiety; my first evening I shared dinner with a group of women who come to NASIG every year not only for professional development, but to see long-standing friends. I found myself imagining my own future returns to NASIG to share learning and laughter with a group of friends. Indeed, I am still in contact with several NASIG attendees and I look forward to NASIG reunions in the years to come. 

The topics discussed were interesting and I met a variety of people interested in and working on the same serial issues I work with. I also have some new friends. 

Having a chance to hear from vendors and publishers what they do and the constraints they operate under was invaluable. My previous encounters with them were limited to ALA booths (yuck) and customer-type issues (also not fun). This added a much needed counterweight to my academic library perspective (one not expressed during school). 

While the content of the sessions served to enlighten me as to the current research and activities in the field of scholarly communications, I feel that as a student, the most valuable aspect of the conference was getting to know the people involved with and careers available in the field. I feel that I made not only friends, but also colleagues at the NASIG conference. As a library student, developing an understanding of the profession and a feeling that I am a part of the profession has been invaluable. 

I gained a lot of knowledge at the conference, especially about the particular aspect of serials in which I’m most interested: cataloging. But, more importantly, I met so many great librarians! My supervisor had told me before I left for Denver that the NASIG conference is the best library conference for a newcomer to attend because of the friendly atmosphere, and she was definitely right. Everyone I met in Denver was welcoming and outgoing, which made for a very fun experience. Overall, the NASIG conference gave me great new contacts, useful knowledge, and fun memories.  It benefits me a lot, because I think it’s very important to meet librarians from other countries and learn about how they are doing their jobs. The conference was a great benefit to me personally. I came back to my library energized, with new ideas on how to improve serials management and access for the students, faculty, and staff my library serves. 

Connecting with other attendees, the networking and hearing their experiences as well as talking about various topics with others, was incredibly valuable. I felt that I made a lot of good connections professionally, but the whole experience was just a lot of fun. 

Did attending the conference influence your career plans?  If so, how, and if not, why not? 

Having attended NASIG, I am more aware of the breadth of professional opportunities in the serials world; this knowledge will help me to make more informed decisions about my career. As one example, prior to the conference, I had not considered the opportunities to be found in working for library vendors or publishers. The conference affirmed my interest in serials, while also leading me to understand that I have many skills to develop before the realization of that goal becomes realistic. 

No. I am a paraprofessional and have no interest in obtaining my MLS. I don’t plan to ever leave serials, though. I love the work. 

More than anything, attending the conference confirmed my career choice and left me psyched to jump in and get started. Made me want to make sure that NASIG is incorporated into that career! 

As I am relatively green in terms of my academic work, NASIG has served to expand my notions of what is possible for a librarian career. Does that mean that I have now chosen to work toward a career path that will be solely in the realm of scholarly communications? Probably not. There is still a big draw for me toward reference and preservation careers in academic libraries. I do, however, feel that I will always seek avenues for staying involved with and assisting developments in scholarly communications. I’d like to someday be a presenter at NASIG. 

The conference would have made me more likely to apply for serials positions if I had not just recently accepted a job offer as a cataloger. But I have already impressed my new supervisor with the things that I learned at the conference, and I feel more comfortable now with requesting to work with serials more often in my current job. 

Sure it does!!! Now I know I have to continue studying for a master’s degree, a doctoral degree, and it gave me the opportunity to feel how important is to be a librarian. Also, I am thinking that it must be possible to work in another country. 

Attending the conference solidified my plans to continue focusing my career development in serials and technical services as a whole. I was already really interested in working with serials but I would say it certainly strengthened my desire to be a serials librarian. 

What can NASIG and/or the Awards & Recognition Committee do to improve the awards programs? 

I am very happy with my experience. 

Can’t think of any improvements at this time. 

Nothing; the committee members were wonderful and every NASIG member I met was nice, friendly, and helpful! So much better than ALA! 

Publicize! I heard about the NASIG awards at the last moment. Making sure to send out announcements to LIS listservs would increase student awareness and participation. I felt that the award was comprehensive and fully met my conference needs. No improvements necessary! 

Everything went smoothly for me, so I can’t imagine anything else that the committee could do for the student winners.  

I think it can be interesting to help Mexican students with a kind of translator at the conferences, especially with library science terms. When I arrived at SLP, I told my dean that it’s very important to prepare librarians in Mexico, especially with automation, attitude and English specialized language. 

I had such a great experience that it is hard to think how to improve the program! One thing that might be helpful is a more formal meeting of the award winners and their mentors…meeting at the reception was a bit of a whirlwind since there was only a half-hour before the opening session. 

It’s hard to say, since it went pretty smoothly I felt. Perhaps marketing more toward library schools so more people know about it. 

What could NASIG and/or the Awards & Recognition Committee do to improve your conference experience? 

I think the experience was great. The topics for the lectures were interesting and there were many avenues for socializing. My only suggestion might be to have the lectures start a bit later in the morning, around 9:00a.m. 

Nothing; it was great! I had a blast! 

Try not to schedule it so close to finals week. That was the only obstacle to greater participation I faced. Having final exams and big papers due the days right after the conference forced me to occasionally hole up in my hotel room when I could/should have been socializing. 

My conference experience was really great. The only thing that could have made the experience better would have been if the NASIG website had listed the cost of a cab ride from the airport to the hotel. I ended up sharing a cab with some other librarians, and it was not very much more expensive than the Super Shuttle, and *definitely* a much shorter wait at the airport for transportation. 

Give a written recognition, as a Mexican winner award, signed by the president of NASIG. Also write a similar letter to our school and/or dean. 

Again, my conference experiences were great, so this is a tough question. One suggestion would be to create listserv or blog that the award winners could use to communicate with each other before and after the conference. 

It’s hard to say because they honestly did such a fantastic job. Susan, Jeff, Sarah, Jessica, etc., really made us feel welcome from the time we arrived. Plans seemed to go smoothly from start to finish. 

Do you have any other suggestions or comments? Please tell us about them here. 

–Denver was a fantastic location. The speakers and sessions I attended were very informative and encouraged some interesting and important discussion. I will definitely be going to NASIG next year! 

I would just like to thank the committee for the opportunity to attend this conference and to become involved in NASIG. 

It will be interesting to [hold] future NASIG Conference and/or the Award Recognition Committee at Mexico (Specially San Luis Potosi). I believe it could be great!! 

Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend a conference free of cost. Now that I know what conferences are like, I’ll be much more excited about attending them in the future. 

I recommend using a conference/hotel that gives free internet access to attendees. 

Considering the logistics of running such a large convention, the committees did very well. 


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