Chelcie Rowell, an MSLS candidate at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS), has recently been chosen as the winner of an essay contest for the Student Chapter of the American Library Association (SCALA). As a winner, Chelcie will have the opportunity to participate in the student to Staff program during the upcoming American Library Association (ALA) annual conference.
According to the Student to Staff page on the ALA Web site, “Each year 40 library students are chosen to assist ALA staff during ALA Annual Conference. In exchange for working four hours a day (or a total of 20 hours) these students receive free conference registration, housing and a per diem for meal expenses.”
The essay competition was a measure for choosing some of these students. The topic for this year’s essay was “best or worst SILS experience.”
“My essay centered on the Metadata Marathon, a professional development event and celebration hosted by Dr. Jane Greenberg and the Metadata Research Center,” said Rowell. “I wrote about how the format of the event created access points for students and professionals with a wide range of expertise to participate and contribute.”
In her essay, Rowell explained that she hoped to attend the ALA annual conference as a UNC SILS representative so that she would be able to “gain insight into the planning and operation of the flagship conference of our field’s largest professional organization.” Rowell also entered the competition so that she could learn more about the ALA and the structure of the conference overall.
“I have never attended an ALA Annual Conference, but I understand that it can be an overwhelming experience for first-time attendee,” Rowell said. “I entered the competition in hopes that, if I won, the Student to Staff Program would help me to understand and navigate the enormous administrative structure of ALA.”
In addition to the educational opportunity the conference provides, Rowell looks forward to the networking opportunities available as well.
“I suspect that it's just as important to join in on the informal social events of the conference and build relationships there as it is to attend and take notes at sessions,” said Rowell. “I'm most looking forward to connecting with the other students from all over the country who will be participating in the program, as well as reconnecting with friends of mine who are already practitioners.”
The 2012 conference will take place June 21-26 in Anaheim, California.