Less than 24 hours to go now before I fly out to Washington DC for the SLA 2009 conference! I’ve been thinking about just how lucky I am to be going out there: when I wrote my application back in December I was basically thinking that there was no chance I was going to win a place, but that it couldn’t hurt to try. Just goes to show that you can be right and wrong at the same time!
Actually, “couldn’t hurt to try” isn’t a bad motto, if I ever felt I needed a motto… It’s lead to a number of things besides the SLA Europe Early Career Conference Award: my new job, for a start (I didn’t think they’d want to take on someone who was still studying, but decided to apply anyway), plus a number of other student conference awards this year.
In addition to the SLA conference, I won a sponsored place at the UKSG annual conference in Torquay earlier this year; and will be attending the CILIP Umbrella Conference in July, with thanks to UKeIG for the sponsorship. Also in July, I will be at Mashed Libraries in Huddersfield, with sponsorship from COPAC.
I’m absolutely over the moon at the opportunity to attend so many great library events as a student: I learnt so much in the few days I was at the UKSG conference, and am sure that the other upcoming events will give me tons of food for thought too. I was actually really surprised at how many awards and sponsorships are available to LIS students: our department post press releases and calls for applications on a message board on the VLE, but I don’t know how many other universities do that. If I managed to scoop four sponsorships this year, it does make me wonder how many other people actually applied! Recently, @bethanar had the wonderful idea of setting up an email list to notify LIS students about awards available to them: the list is now up at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A0=LIS-AWARDS. I think it’s a fantastic resource: there are so many opportunities available to students and you learn so much more from these kinds of professional events than you can in a lecture.
I’d be really interested to know how many other students or ex-students applied for any kind of sponsorships and/or awards while they were studying; and if not, why was that? Is it just lack of awareness, or lack of interest, or do people tend to think that there’s no point in applying? Or any other reasons I haven’t thought of!