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TLA Conference – Getting the Most Out of TLA: Your Guide to Active Involvement April 17, 2008

Filed under: Conferences,TLA 2008 — ellie @ 2:08 am
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New to TLA? Want to jump-start your career? Learn how active involvement in TLA has enhanced the professional and personal goals of TLA presidents, TALL Texans, and even a Librarian of the Year. Join us for light refreshments and a chance to find out what opportunities are available to you.
Gretchen McCord Hoffmann, attorney, Wong Cabello (Austin); Eva D. Poole, director of libraries, Denton Public Library; Dede M. Rios, director, Bruce A. Garrett Medical Library (San Antonio); Jack Strawn, librarian, O’Connor High School, Northside ISD (San Antonio); Tine A. Walczyk, manager of continuing education & consulting, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

I started off my morning with a wonderful complementary breakfast from the West End hotel and headed over to the convention center. After a breezy check-in I went to Getting the Most Out of TLA: Your Guide to Active Involvement. This was hosted by the New Members Round Table (NMRT). Deirdre McDonald (the current chair) explained that the NMRT chair term lasts for one year. She encouraged those of us just getting started in Texas Libraries, whether we’re new to libraries or just new to Texas, to get started being active participants in TLA. Professional organizations are the most fun when you get to do things in them. She said that everyone on this panel has personally inspired her. She encouraged us to just start talking to people – introduce yourself and start talking. She also said that she learned leadership skills from participating in the round table.

First up was Eva Poole, the director of the Denton Public Library. She proclaimed herself a TLA evangelist and said she was going to talk about how TLA has helped her. She had three main things to share – “most rewarding, long lasting, positive.” She was new to public libraries and joined TALL Texans. She told us that the networking that you form here lasts your entire career. TLA also provides you with ongoing continuing education. TLA is there for you, get involved and let it help you.

Jack Strawn, librarian at O’Connor High School in San Antonio, was up next. He was originally a band director, then a teacher, then he and his wife quit teaching English and went to library school together. At first TLA was overwhelming, they felt like deer in headlights. Then he got a call and was on a committee (Lone Star). He said TLA is one big happening. It just happened. He’s been so blessed to be involved in TLA. He was the 2005 librarian of the year. He said that it was so humbling to think a group like TLA would believe in him. The more you give the more you get back. The more involved you are the more you grow professionally. “It will change your life. It totally changed mine.”

Dede Rios, director of the Bruce A. Garrett Medical Library in San Antonio, explained that she was a relatively new librarian, a 2004 grad. She had been in the medical field for 17 years. She loves to plan things, participate, volunteer, so it’s been easy for her to get involved. TLA likes fresh ideas, whatever you have to offer they are happy. She found attending meetings to be helpful. “Whatever you put in you’ll get out.” She also encouraged us to approach people with your questions.

Tine Walczyk is the manager of continuing education and consulting at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin. She said she’s only there because of TLA. She has gained so much. She formed connections with everyone on the local arrangements committee. It was an immediate bonding experience. She has made some of the best friends and colleagues at TLA. She was out of state and could fully appreciate what a strong association TLA is. It’s one of the largest library associations in the US – ALA, PLA, then TLA. She stayed active in TLA even when she left the state. She got into TALL Texans – which focuses on library leadership and allows you to learn the structure of TLA and how you can participate. From that she wound up at the Texas state library. When she was a kid the library is where she went to escape so she is so happy if she can do anything to give back to this profession. She hopes it can be as meaningful for us.

Deirdre McDonald told us that there are lots of opportunities for funding and that people are more likely to give you funds if you are committed. One of the way to do that is to get involved.

After the panelists there was a Q&A and then awards followed by mingling with some other representatives from other round tables, but I had to dash off to my next session.

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