Have you attended a non-library conference lately? I was recently given the opportunity to present and attend the Teaching Academic Survival Skills (TASS) conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. While it was still a higher ed conference, there was only one other session that was library focused so it was nice to break out of my comfort zone and see what colleagues in other college departments are doing to help students prepare for (and survive!) college.
Academic survival skills and academic preparedness are something that affects all college departments, including the library. This conference had attendees from many different areas including tutoring, student success programs, developmental reading and writing, and more. All discussed issues that we are librarians are likely familiar with: students unfamiliar with college jargon, students not understanding of what their particular department really does and how it can help them, and students waiting until it was too late to ask for help. And, of course, lack of money to make new initiatives succeed. Sound familiar? Almost anyone who has ever worked at a library will be familiar with these and many similar issues.
I had a really great time at this conference. I got to network with people from other college departments that I don’t normally interact with much outside of my own campus. I got to hear interesting presentations about solutions to problems that easily apply to the library as well. While I am not endorsing this particular conference (full disclosure: my college sponsors it), I do endorse going to a conference that is not directly library related. It may help you understand and connect to other departments on your campus.