Our members describe their annual ASEE ELD conference experience
Craig Beard, Reference Librarian for Engineering, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Since my first ASEE/ELD annual conference in Nashville in 2003, the only one I haven’t attended was 2007 in Honolulu (I know, I know . . . but it was unavoidable). Missing that conference left a bit gap in my year, because getting together with my ELD colleagues — and friends! — is a big shot in the arm for me. Each time I attend, I get ideas and energy from some amazing people. Not only do I learn from the technical sessions and from conversations with other engineering librarians, I have a heck of a good time with these folks. If this sounds like a commercial for the conference . . . okay!
Jay Bhatt, Engineering Information Services Librarian, Hagerty Library, Drexel University
Why do I love ELD?
I just wanted to share some thoughts and reflections of my past 10-11 years of association with ELD. I did not know when I attended my first 1998 conference in Seattle, I would fall in love with ELD right away. ELD to me is like a big family with everyone is eager to support each other in a variety of ways. We share our experiences with each other, and in the process, develop a bond of togetherness. We try our best to come up with innovative ideas for implementation that benefit our profession tremendously. In every session, I learn something new. Creativity and talent shown by our members always inspire me to contribute in some creative ways in the field of engineering librarianship.
Our members are extremely proactive and they bring up many intellectual ideas for further discussion. It is this interactive dialog among us that really sparks critical thinking among ourselves allowing us to take ELD to the next higher level.During my terms as an officer, I garnered much support from our senior ELD members that truly helped me survive those years.
ELD has helped me grow and it will continue to do so. ELD experience is the experience of my life-time, an experience that is so dear to me. ELD is collaboration. ELD is working together. ELD is sharing. ELD is learning from each other.
Thank you so much, ELD!
Dorothy Byers, Head, Engineering Library, University of Cincinnati
Total relevance! I’ve attended regularly since 1976 because it’s the one place to confer with colleagues just like me with issues just like mine. ELD sessions are timely and on target, without any sifting required. I also note that besides being a copacetic group, ELDers are imagineers who push me to think to the future of our profession and how we practice it. Great professional stimulation with a chance to massage the ideas rather than simply listen and run.
Karen Clay, Head, Engineering Library, Stanford University
I’ve only been to two conferences so far, but I’ve really enjoyed both of them and found that they give me renewed enthusiasm for my job! The ASEE/ELD conference is indeed unique. The ideas I get at this conference always seem to me to be practical, relevant, and not difficult to implement. The colleagues I’ve met are very knowledgeable and fun, and there is a lot of positive interaction. This conference is one of the reasons I was so excited to return to an Engineering Library position after several years in another subject specialty.
Tom DePetro, Engineering Librarian, Texas A&M University
Profound. I have met my counterparts at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada and really upgraded my performance as an academic engineering librarian as a result of the conferences. ASEE is great — small with our division and immense with the entire membership. It’s great to be a part of engineering education through ASEE!
Mel DeSart, Head, Engineering Library, University of Washington
The best single word I’ve ever come up with to describe what make ASEE/ELD’s annual conference so useful is peers. No other group or organization that I’ve found sponsors a conference with a series of technical sessions sponsored by, and primarily designed for, academic engineering librarians. There’s a common ground that I share with other members of ELD that I’ve never found in in any other library-related organization, including ALA, SLA, and ACRL. And on top of that, it’s a fun group!
Kathleen “Pix” Fleming, Reference Coordinator & Engineering Librarian, Wayne State University
I inherited liaison responsibilities for the College of Engineering in 2006 and the first piece of advice I received was to join ASEE. I attended the 2007 conference in Honolulu and find that I use information picked up at the conference all the time. An added bonus is that I met a VERY supportive and fun group of people.
Aleteia Greenwood, Head Librarian, Science & Engineering, University of British Columbia
I’ve been a member of ASEE-ELD since 2002. I was quite nervous as a new science and engineering librarian when I went to my first conference in Montreal. There were so many friendly people at ELD that I still remember that conference fondly. The contacts I have made attending ASEE-ELD have been instrumental in supporting my patrons as well as helping my career as a science and engineering librarian. I don’t think you’d ever regret attending!
Najwa Hanel, Science & Engineering Library, University of Southern California
As usual, I enjoyed the ASEE/ELD conference again this year. It is always a pleasure to communicate with friends and colleagues as we help one another virtually, but seeing one another in person as we exchange knowledge and learn new practices are often beneficial. I also look forward to enjoying the care free social interactions over lunches and dinners.
Already looking forward to Vancouver, BC.!
John J. Meier, Science Librarian, Pennsylvania State University
Impressive. That is the word that sums up my first experience with the Engineering Libraries Division portions of the ASEE Conference. Every presentation I went to was full of expert librarians on the podiums and in the audience. The advice I gained from fellow attendees was invaluable and their depth of knowledge was stunning. Thanks for a great conference.
Linda Musser, Earth and Mineral Sciences Librarian, Penn State
Cozy. No running from one hotel to another, trying to get to that meeting far far away. A chance to mingle, in a less frenetic way, with colleagues who don’t turn pale at the sound of the words ‘technical report’ or ‘standard’.
Fred O’Bryant, Applied Sciences Librarian, University of Virginia’s Science & Engineering Library
I have to say that, as a relative newcomer to ELD, I was impressed by the friendly welcome I received at my first ASEE conference. Everyone made me feel right at home and part of the group from the start. I am also impressed with how well organized the ELD portion of the conferences are and how the topics of discussions are so pertinent to issues current in science and engineering libraries right now. Friendly camaraderie and ‘news you can use’ — two very good reasons to join ASEE-ELD and attend the annual conference!
Mary E. Patterson, Reference/Instruction Librarian, Cornell University
The greatest value for me personally has been the opportunity to get to know other engineering librarians, and visit their libraries and learn about their projects. The group is small enough to allow me to connect with each person and to remember every face. This connectedness makes me want to respond to the ELDNET-L queries, and I feel comfortable about asking the group or individuals for help when I need it.
Anneliese Taylor, Science Librarian, Bryn Mawr College
I have attended the annual ASEE conference for three years in a row. Ever since my first attendance, ELD has made it well worth my while to attend. ELD to me feels like a large family of colleagues. Experienced and new engineering and science librarians alike spend a few days together talking about issues affecting our libraries, connecting, and having a great time.
Larry Thompson, Engineering Librarian, Virginia Tech
The first conference I attended was at UIUC, in 1993. At one of the sessions, someone demonstrated a newfangled piece of software called Mosaic, and searched for information on something called the World Wide Web. He was able to retrieve a weather map from Australia. I had absolutely no use for an Australian weather map at the time, (and still don’t), but that demo of new technology convinced me that the ASEE / ELD conference was the mother lode of cutting edge engineering librarianship. Nothing in the fifteen years since then has caused me to change my mind. Every year there’s something new and challenging.
Patricia Watkins, Reference Librarian, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
I was favorably impressed enough as a first-time attendee to last year’s Honolulu ASEE conference. that I’m returning again this year to Pittsburgh! The New Member ribbon attached to my nametag made it easy for people to identify me and though they didn’t have to stop, many did, just to chat and introduce themselves. I made many new friends last year which proved helpful in my first year as an engineering librarian here @ ERAU and found most of the ELD sessions to be noteworthy, coming away with fresh insight into ABET standards, and new ideas for library instruction and Library 2.0 initiatives.
Although I’ve been involved with ALA and SLA library organizations since my grad school days, I find ASEE’s tight focus on the engineering profession really fits my needs now. ASEE conference rocks!I was VERY impressed with the sheer organization of the event last year, all the special events planned and supported by vendors, and the ELD presentations — professional and extremely useful tools for on-the-job.
Liz Watson, Business Librarian, University of Calgary
The ASEE ELD conference experience is the best informal library networking opportunity around! Since I’ve moved on to business libraries, away from engineering, I’m REALLY sorry to miss it every year. It is a very enjoyable way to share a lot of important experiences and discuss a lot of issues we have in common. It’s also not as expensive as some of the other big library conferences, and worth every penny!
Susan M. Vazakas, Science and Engineering Librarian, Johns Hopkins University
Emergency! A colleague left and suddenly I was the liaison to four engineering departments. What was the quickest way I could learn about how to reach engineering students and faculty as well as the tools they use? I know: go to an ASEE conference. It was exactly what I needed — fascinating sessions, vendors who enlightened me about their products, and posters that demonstrated novel and effective ways to teach about engineering resources. (Also, I never starved — they were great about providing breaks with nice food.) The most valuable aspect of ASEE for me is that it is a mixed group of professionals — the conferences provide the chance to hear what’s on the minds of deans, government reps, and corporations, as well as my librarian colleagues, in a focused, non-mob-scene setting.
Tom Volkening, Engineering Librarian, Michigan State University
Unlike other library conferences, attending ASEE gives you the chance to interact with different groups of people. You not only get a chance to find out what librarians at other institutions are doing and present your ideas to your peers. You also have the opportunity to attend meetings with faculty and find out what is going on in the field of engineering education from practitioners. Being a smaller conference, it has been held in some interesting locations. Lastly, this is a very sociable group and they have been know to have fun at the conference.