RUSA Update on ALA Annual Conference Experience

By Mansi Nishit Trivedi

2023 BRASS Student Travel Award Winner

Mansi Nishit Trivedi is the recipient of the 2023 BRASS Student Travel Award sponsored by SimplyAnalytics and here is what this award means to her in her own words.

“I would like to express my deep gratitude to the selection committee of the 2023 BRASS Student Travel Award for selecting me as the recipient of this award and SimplyAnalytics for sponsoring this award. Through this award, I gained the opportunity to attend the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois. It’s a dream of any student like me to attend the ALA conference, gain knowledge about what is happening in the profession, and interact with global leaders and professionals who are doing amazing work.

“I recently received a full-time work opportunity and the library that I am going to join soon after attending this conference is going through a major renovation. Renovation projects are exciting as well as exhausting with a lot of work. My learnings from various sessions at ALA annual such as “Top 5 mistakes renovating your library and how to avoid them”, “Scalable Media Labs: Building your own public library media space”, “Hear me out: Podcasting to connect with a community”, “Culture in My Neighborhood: Bringing the Arts To Every Community and Every Library” would definitely benefit me professionally when I get involved in the renovation project at work and plan to start new services in the new place.

“There were interesting sessions around leadership. “Be Fierce” included an important discussion about how to harness our power for our libraries. This was a great opportunity to learn from the experiences of leaders in the profession, their roles, and their library advocacy experiences. “One of my favorite sessions from the ALA annual was the BRASS discussion. I had the opportunity to interact with business librarians, academic librarians, and public librarians visiting across the globe and listen to their thoughts and ideas on various topics. There was an interesting discussion about the ways academic libraries can support public libraries in entrepreneurship and this includes:

  • Provide workshops for the students who are about to complete their studies, and who are soon to be alumni, on “how to access resources of entrepreneurship.”
  • Work with the leader of the maker space at the public library. Plan workshops on various academic libraries and public library resources that can support entrepreneurship.
  • Public libraries can have partnerships with academic libraries on providing resources for local business development as well as small business development.
  • Partnership with academic libraries on providing data to the public.
  • Public libraries can design a program for teens/ students/ or maybe for anyone who wants to start their own venture or business on “how to design career opportunities in entrepreneurship and resources available for entrepreneurship.”
  • Public libraries can have partnerships with academic libraries on instruction services.

“I also enjoyed a discussion around providing data to the clients during this BRASS discussion. “Our job is not just to find data but also teach patrons what is wrong with the methodology to find data”.

“My favorite sessions were about building diverse collections at the libraries and how to engage readers with multicultural literature. A thought-provoking tip for building a multicultural bookshelf at the library was “To embrace the world beyond the walls of your home, beyond the roads in your neighborhood, beyond the lines that define your state, beyond the country that you live in.”

“Being able to attend the reception of the international librarians was something I enjoyed a lot. Being an international student myself and having worked in libraries of more than one country, it was nice to connect with librarians who came from different parts of the world.

“This ALA conference was an exciting learning experience. I am sure that these learnings would benefit me in the career that I am about to start.

“My advice to the students attending ALA annual conference is to gain opportunities to interact with the people, listen to their ideas, learn about best practices and the initiatives that can transform customer services, try to visit the exhibit and meet vendors, and have fun amidst the busy schedule of the conference.”