So, What did the Dewey Fellows Think?

Emily Drabinski, ASLS

I was so honored to be selected a 2017 Dewey Fellow. The funding provided was crucial in enabling my trip to Saratoga Springs and the connections I made with colleagues from around the state during my time there. As a presenter, I shared my perspective on labor organizing within libraries and tried to connect my union experience to other shared struggles for information professionals. The audience for my talk was engaged and shared feedback from their own workplace struggles—a helpful reminder that any issue I might face in libraries is surely shared by colleagues all over New York. While I always love sharing my perspective, I was more excited to hear inspiring talks by Camila Alire and Jessamyn West. (I ran into Dr. Alire in the elevator in the morning and chatted about the weather, quite starstruck!) The message from these speakers was clear: whatever else library work is about, it is also about advocating for equity, justice, and fairness for everyone in our library communities.

This was my first NYLA conference, but it won’t be my last. The community spirit of New York libraries was a joy to experience, from the conviviality of the pre-conference wine tasting tour to the endless bacon at the morning business meeting to the petting zoo in the trade show. New York librarians are committed to serving our publics and we are committed to helping each other. I look forward to finding new ways to demonstrate what New York librarians can do when we work together.  

Nick Tanzi, SMART

I would like to thank both NYLA and the SMART committee for the honor of being selected a 2017 Dewey Fellow. New York is fertile ground for libraries, and I am always in awe of the innovative programs and services my colleagues are able to develop.

Financially, this award allowed my library to increase our conference attendance, creating experiences that will pay dividends for years to come. Personally, I drew particular inspiration from the session “STEAMing Up Your Library Programs” and am looking for to implementing a number of its ideas at my library. Outside of formal presentations, meeting so many colleagues from across our state allowed for a cross-pollination of ideas over lunch, dinner and coffee that I am truly grateful for.

Thanks once again to NYLA and SMART for the award, and to all of you that contributed to another successful conference!

Randall Enos, YSS

Wow!  What an adventure the NYLA “Find-Your-Own-Adventure” Conference proved to be! The 2017 conference was billed as the “best conference ever” and in my opinion it lived up to the hype…… and I’ve been to a lot of NYLA Conferences.

This conference – and I think most NYLA conferences are a delightful mix of the “tried-and-true” and much that is new and different.  The NYLA staff and all who work on planning and implementing the conference do such a wonderful job of providing something for participants at all levels of the profession and at various points in their careers.  

The focus of the programs I attended were youth services (sponsored primarily by YSS) and Friends (sponsored primarily by FLS) since those are the two areas that relate to my work at RCLS.

While some of the topics presented at programs have been offered at previous conferences, I find that, more often than not, there is some new aspect to the subject that makes the repeat more than worthwhile.  For example, I have attended countless presentations on school and public library cooperation, but the two sessions I attended at this conference on that topic provided additional information to add to the storehouse that I’ve collected over the years.

All of the sessions I was able to attend – both those aimed at youth services staff and Friends – were top notch – informative, enjoyable and thought provoking.

With this conference I learned to appreciate the value of the events that focus squarely on enjoyment.  While much of the networking that is such an important part of the conference takes place at more docile functions, events such as the After Dark program and the Battle Decks competition show that there are many ways to connect with our fellow librarians.  I consider myself very lucky to be part of the educational structure in a state with citizens that value education and support libraries (for the most part) with many, many intelligent and accomplished individuals who are also fun and lively.  Who knew?

Part of my job is to bring what I’ve learned back to staff in our member libraries.  It’s always a challenge with so much to say and so little time – and that’s the challenge in putting together my reflections…… so in the effort to be concise, I’ll end there and hope that I’ve conveyed how exhilarating the NYLA conferences are and what a treat it was to be treated as a Dewey Fellow.  Thank you to the NYLA Council and the YSS Board for honoring me with a Dewey Fellowship and for making the 2017 conference extra special.
I’m looking forward to more adventures next year in Rochester.  I will be there without a Dewey Fellow crown, but with bells on and ready for another NYLA Conference Extravaganza.