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Making Your Case to Attend JCLC 2022

The theme for The 4th National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color is: Gathering for Action: EDI – Where Do We Go From Here?

How do you get yourself to go from here to there?

The commitment to attend a national conference can be very expensive. Is it worth it? My answer is always yes, as I love going to conferences. I love meeting librarians and educators from across the country (and around the world) and networking with professionals. I love visiting different parts of the country and seeing libraries in all types of settings. 

But is that enough to use my own time and money to travel when the reality is I’m doing this for my professional development and to be the most effective at my job? Here the answer is no…but also yes, if I can be subsidized by my organization. 

Here is a sample request borrowed from ALA’s making the case letter:

  • Tally your potential costs.

  • Study any preliminary information about the program. Identify sessions, events, and programs that you believe can help you be more productive and efficient.

  • Share any preliminary program information with your colleagues. Let those who might not be able to attend know that your attending can benefit them. Inform them of the type of information that you can bring back to help them and which sessions you can attend on their behalf.

  • Share program information with your supervisor. List the sessions and programs that you think will be of greatest benefit to your workplace.

  • Review the topic-specific preconferences. Are any especially applicable to you and your workplace?

  • Draft a plan listing how essential tasks will be handled while you’re away. Include how, if necessary, technology can easily keep you accessible.

  • Draft a plan noting that when you return to the office, you’ll share action items and fresh ideas learned at the conference  (e.g., notes from speaker presentations and discussion groups, knowledgeable vendors you met, best practices, contacts you made through networking, etc.) with the rest of the staff.

  • Inform your supervisor that you can focus on implementing one new idea that will pay back many times over the investment of time and money spent to attend.

  • Put your request in writing. Feel free to use this sample memo.

The JCLC conferences also offer a rare occasion for BIPOC individuals and allies to come together in a safe environment that fosters congeniality and develops a cohort of peers who collaboratively address issues of racism and culture that the LIS profession struggles to improve, including recruitment and retention of BIPOC individuals and how best to serve the communities we reflect. It is truly the only such Conference for BIPOC individuals and allies that is by BIPOC librarian-experts.