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Attending the JCLC 2022 Conference

By Tina Lerno, Librarian II, Los Angeles Public Library

Anyone who knows me understands how much I love attending library conferences! The opportunity to learn new things, catch up with old friends in person, meet new library folks, and network.

At my first library conference, I was scared and shy, but by the end of the week and with the help of a few mentors (who will all be at JCLC 2022), I felt like I could finally break out of my shell and make the most of that time.

Since that first conference, I have grown more confident about attending library events. These days, you’ll find me presenting at quite a few; even doing behind the scenes committee work such as chairing the Great Graphic Novels for Teens for YALSA, 2018, 2019, and planning events for ALA Annual’s Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table, 2022.

As a person of color, I am often in the margins, and that’s in life and not just in the library world. I’ve never fully felt like I fit in with my library peers and even my broader community. While, in general, I’ve been accepted by my immediate work family, I usually don’t feel comfortable telling people about my background in a more extensive library setting. I often wonder how co-workers keep their complete selves out of their work lives.

My hope in attending JCLC 2022 is to find a like-minded group of people and learn practical skills for helping others in my situation. I know I won’t see others “just” like me, but I believe the experiences and kinship we have all shared as people of color, and more specifically librarians of color, will ring true. I’m also hoping to have this be a positive learning experience from colleagues who can inspire me and guide me towards a more equitable library world, both in advocating for myself and the wider library world. I believe librarianship still has far to go in terms of both equity and diversity.

To me, the JCLC will enhance my ability to serve the patrons of Los Angeles, who are indeed about as diverse as a city as you might find. I know I will take what experiences I gain from the conference and apply that to my work, even if it’s simply to learn more about myself and the patrons I serve as a librarian.

Tina Lerno