Megan De Armond recently graduated with an MSLIS from Pratt Institute and works as a Web Archiving Technician with the New York Art Resources Consortium. Megan attended the Forum in November with support from a Students and New Professionals Fellowship.
First, I want to thank the Digital Library Federation (DLF) and the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for awarding me and five others the Student and New Professional Forum Fellowship. Without this generous award, I would not have been able to attend the conference. I am grateful for the experience and opportunities that were afforded to me.
The first day of the conference, I felt a sense of belonging- even amongst the 700+ attendees. #DLFvillage spoke to the sense of community building that occurred as well as shared conference notes and shared slides (enormously grateful for this to remind myself of what I did attend as well as to get a glimpse into what I missed).
One of the highlights for me, as a web archiving technician, was the web archiving lunch – organized and hosted by Karl-Rainer Blumenthal of the Internet Archive. Karl was able to include everyone in the discussion and take notes on each person’s suggestions/comments. He asked attendees not only to introduce themselves, but to share about what they hoped might be improved or a goal they had for web archiving.
As a new professional, I have only attended a few library conferences and found that the DLF Forum allowed for spontaneous conversations with colleagues in the elevator, in the halls, around the coffee/tea stations, and certainly in the ballroom during breakfasts and lunches. It made the conference familial and felt inclusive.
I can’t help but acknowledge that when I reflect back on the DLF forum, I have mixed feelings. It was difficult being there the day following the election. I wanted to be home, surrounded by friends and family in a city I know. The air felt heavy and full of uncertainty; the open, inclusive vibe from the first two days of the conference, now seemed at risk with the new president elect.
Audrey, my co-presenter, and I were struggling to motivate ourselves to get going for our presentation Wednesday morning, lack of sleep and not sure what our country was going to be like in the coming months and years. We felt reassured by Laurie Allen, our panel chair, who struggled to hold back tears, but also acknowledged our fear and uncertainty. We were all feeling a pulled to talk about the election and wanting to keep on track with our line up on web archiving. We made it through.
If I go back to the day I traveled to Milwaukee, I recall feeling excited about attending our first DLF Forum. The conference hotel which was absolutely elegant and beautiful- and to my surprise located close to the Milwaukee Art Museum (luckily I was able to visit on one of our lunch breaks).
Overall I had a fabulous experience at DLF and fond memories of conference sessions, the luncheon, catching up with some familiar faces, and meeting new colleagues and hearing stories about software, workflow, and so much more.
Thank you again for awarding me the opportunity to attend the DLF Forum. I hope to make it next year to Pittsburgh!