Conference reflection from ILA-ACRL Fall Scholarship Award Winner, Kate Thompson

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 ILA-ACRL Fall Scholarship Award winner, Kate Thompson, a University of Alabama library science student, offers the following reflection on her ILA conference experience:

"Receiving the ILA/ACRL conference scholarship was the first in many warm gestures made to me by the committee and by the ILA in general during the 2016 "Lighting Up the Future" conference. From the response of the librarians in attendance, it was evident what I had already suspected is true - I have joined a professional community that values collaboration, cooperation and leadership. After receiving the award, many conference goers went out of their way to make a connection with me and I met librarians from all over the state and from a variety of careers. (see entire reflection here)

I learned quite a bit about the state of the profession, as well. It was acknowledged by many that times are financially difficult and funding insecure. And yet the response to a difficult situation that might be evident elsewhere in the business world - to fight for resources and to guard professional secrets - was noticeably absent. One librarian remarked to me that it is because librarians have so much in common, and often work with difficult budget restrictions, that they have learned to collaborate and to share great ideas. This spirit was evident in many of the workshops I attended, which have helped me to think about various aspects of the library in new ways and to prepare for a future career.

I'd like to thank the committee for the opportunity to make a personal connection to ILA and to ACRL. I particularly appreciated the invitation to attend the ACRL business meeting, where it was evident that there is a wealth of talent and energy at work on many fronts, and a spirit of curiosity as to the future of the organization. The work of the ACRL Diversity Committee likewise shows its forward-looking spirit. 

I truly appreciate the generosity of the ILA/ACRL in awarding this scholarship to a library student, and for the warm welcome I was given by the committee while attending the conference. My experience in Dubuque made me proud to one day join the network of innovative librarians in Iowa."