ASSOCIATES (vol. 7, no. 1, July 2000) -

New York State Library Assistants' Association

Annual Conference

June 14-16, 2000

Reported by

Judith Andrew

The New York State Library Assistants' Association held their twenty-second annual conference in Rochester, NY June 14th through the 16th. It was the second consecutive year the conference was held at Rochester's Crowne Plaza Hotel, so most of us felt as if we returning to an old friend's home. The theme of this year's conference was "Library Assistants - Celebrating Ourselves".

On Wednesday afternoon, one could choose among three tours: a walking tour of downtown Rochester, a tour of the Rochester Public Library, and a visit to the home of Susan B. Anthony and its companion museum. That evening, there was a buffet dinner and festivities at the beautiful, new Appellate Division Law Library . After dinner, there were tours of the Law Library, and the Sibley Music Library, which is part of the Eastman School of Music.

Thursday morning was the time for the annual presentation of awards for 5 and 10-year NYSLAA members, as well as the awarding of the NYSLAA Certificates of Achievement which had been earned in the past year. See NYSLAA's website ( if you would like more information on the Certificate program. (On both Wednesday and Thursday, members of the Certificate of Achievement Review Board were available to help people with their applications and to answer questions.)

Workshops I and II took place on Thursday also. Some of the workshops offered that day were Everyday Law, Signing (two parts), Current Realities and Future Directions in Technical Services, Advocacy for Libraries, and Sharing NYSLAA. In the evening, there was a garden party near the rose garden of the Rochester Museum and Science Center. We even had the museum and Science Center all to ourselves, as they were kept open later than usual just for us.

Friday morning was the annual NYSLAA Town Meeting, a chance for the Executive Council and committee chairs to bring the membership up to date on association news, as well as for representatives from the nine regions to share news about their local library assistant groups. Topics included a report on the Virginia Library Association Paraprofessional Forum's May conference, proposed revisions to NYSLAA's Constitution and Bylaws, NYSLAA's participation in this fall's annual conference of the New York Library Association (hosting a panel discussion entitled "The

Evolution of the Library Assistant"), the latest activities of ALA's Library Career Pathways Taskforce, and NYSLAA's representation at the recent meeting in New York City of the State Board of Regents' Commission on Library Services which focused on the education of the state's library workforce.

Workshops III and IV took place on Friday also. Some titles were Building the Leader Within (two parts), DVD's, Safety and Violence in Libraries, Rochester's Stories in Words, Video Repairs, and Electronic Document Delivery.

Friday's luncheon in the Grand Ballroom was the site of the presentation of this year's Ray Murray Award, given each year to someone who has contributed in an exceptional way to the recognition and/or professional growth of library assistants. This year's recipient was Dr. Carolyn Vang Schuler, a consultant for the Monroe County Library System and a tireless advocate for library assistants.

The Craig Koste Award was also given. It is presented each year to a library assistant who has distinguished him/herself by their service to NYSLAA and to the library assistants of New York. This year the award went to Joseph Valenti of the New York State Appellate Division Law Library, who is the chairperson of NYSLAA's Donations Committee.

The conference's keynote speaker also spoke at the luncheon - Dr. H. Jayne Vogan, educator, consultant, and therapist. Dr. Vogan had spoken at our conference some years ago and we were very happy to partake of her inspiring wisdom and wonderful sense of humor once again.

Of course, there are many aspects of the conference which are very difficult to measure and describe: the professional growth that occurs, the renewed enthusiasm for one's work, the networking, the new and continuous friendships, the fun! We look forward to more of the same at the 2001 conference, which will be held on the beautiful campus of St. John's University in Queens, NY. Library assistants let loose in the Big Apple!

We are all very excited to be able to attend our association's first New York City conference and are happy to say that the metropolitan New York NYSLAA members are growing in number and enthusiasm every day. Consider joining us in NYC!

[These buttons are no longer active. To return to Table of Contents for this issue, click here.]

Go Back ArrowReturn to Top of Page