I attended my first, of hopefully many, ACRL/NY Symposiums in December 2020 via Zoom. The theme was Civic Engagement: Democracy and the Library. As a graduating MLS student at Queens College, this symposium was perfectly timed. The panels helped me rethink what it means to be a librarian and how academic librarians can have an impact beyond the library’s walls.
Gary Marks’ presentation on the Civic Literacy Initiative at the David & Lorraine Cheng Library at the William Paterson University of New Jersey was especially impactful for me since it really highlighted how an academic library can have an impact on students’ lives and the steps they had to take to become part of the program and work with student activities and student clubs. Having worked at college and university campuses for more than a decade, I made sure to take detailed notes of his process and roadmap. I’m sure it will be useful for me as I embark on an academic library career.
The other presentations, including librarians as activists, history workshops to prepare immigrants of the citizenship test, and public programs around climate change using archival materials were all illuminating. It really emphasized the diversity and depth and possibilities of the librarian profession.