One of the reasons I love seeing you is your consistently warm and sunny disposition. However, you surprised me this year with temperatures in the 40s/20s. You were sunny so we’re still on good terms.
The Electronic Resources and Libraries conference was held March 3-6. As usual, there’s something for everyone who works with electronic resources. Sessions included workflows, budgetary constraints, implementation and migration of software, security, and coding. There were also wellness sessions such as doing yoga at your desk. My contributions to the conference were two sessions; “Being an Effective Liaison as a Technical Services Librarian,” and “Reflections on Representation: What’s Wrong with Saying ‘I Treat Everyone the Same?'” This first presentation was aimed towards newer or entry-level technical services librarians who have liaison responsibilities. My co-presenter and I talked about the lack of literature for technical services librarians as liaisons, the difficulty of balancing one’s primary job functions (such as troubleshooting problems) and doing outreach, and the realities of how long it can take to establish a relationship with a department. We also discussed our successes and identifying non-traditional liaison opportunities such as being a “liaison to the liaisons.” Though not every e-resources librarian is a liaison, we are often the point persons for liaisons for e-resources and collection development policies. There were about 100 people in attendance for our session and about five said they had liaison training. Of that group, training only meant learning how to order books. Liaison training did not include building communication and networking abilities which the literature overwhelmingly points to as skills effective liaisons possess.
The second presentation focused on diversity and was based on my presentation from 2018’s ER&L. Some members from Sage Publishing attended last year’s presentation and asked if my co-presenter and I would like to work with them to develop it into a sponsored “Lunch and Learn.” My co-presenter and I returned this year with three new friends (the two members from Sage who attended our presentation last year and another librarian colleague) to conduct this session. We capped the attendance at 35 people, mainly, to make sure people felt comfortable sharing their opinions and stories. As a group, we discussed topics such as why everyone cannot and should not be treated the same whether it’s during the hiring process or everyday interactions. Our goal was to continue diversifying the concept of diversity, recognizing less visible diversities, and the necessity for self-accountability. Sage plans to expand this year’s session into a two-hour session at next year’s ER&L.