Fellow librarian and conference-goer John Dupuis asked last week in his post Science Online 2012: Library and librarian sessions) about other non-librarian conferences we librarians attend. As the librarian for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina, I like to go to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual conference. This is where the and reporting, advertising, public relations faculty go to talk about the craft of teaching and share their research. I've been twice in the past 3 years, and sadly, have been the only journalism / strategic communication librarian in attendance. I hope to work with colleagues to change that in the future.
Here's why I like going:
I had the luxury at this conference to attend sessions that interest me intellectually. I heard presentations on public relations efforts at the first NAACP conference in the South in 1920; possibly deceptive practices used in food marketing campaigns; and Advertising educators’ definitions of “diversity.” As a librarian, I rarely get to immerse myself in the literature of journalism and mass communication, so this was a wonderful opportunity. The conference was therefore a win for reasons of pure self-interest.
I was able to see my students and faculty at work. All of the papers cited above were presented by UNC Journalism and Mass Communication graduate students and all were terrific. I also saw a colleague lead the Breakfast of Editing Champions – and found that copy editors are a lot of fun at 8 am!
I was able to offer some reference services at the conference as well. The public relations discussant suggested the presenters turn to polling data to help assess the results of the PR campaigns they are studying. After the session, I gave my student the name of the UNC poll data librarian who will be able to locate and interpret relevant poll data. Later, over coffee, a friend and I discussed author copyright, accessibility, reputation, and other issues related to journal editing and publishing. I offered reference to the broader community as well, by tweeting links to articles & resources mentioned in sessions to all following the #aejmc11 hashtag.
At ScienceOnline, I get to geek out on science, which now is more of a hobby for me than a profession, and I also get to hear about science journalism, social media -- and I hang out with fun scientists, librarians, reporters, and so much more. "More" happily includes some of my peeps from UNC Chapel Hill, so I'm sure some reference and referral will happen in Raleigh too.
If you're a librarian reading this, do you go to subject-oriented conferences (as contrasted with library-focused events)? If you're a scholar, scientist, journalist reading this, do you see librarians at conferences? Do you see librarians at your primary place of work? I hope our presence at conferences helps persuade you that we can be helpful!