LAUC-B is the Berkeley chapter of the Librarians Association of the University of California, and it helps us librarians in so many ways. When we come to campus to interview, we have lunch with LAUC-B representatives (and the conversation is confidential, so we can ask the REAL questions we have). When we arrive as new librarians, LAUC-B connects us with mentors. It provides support for our promotion and review process, and it provides a strong sense of community as we navigate this complicated campus.
One important thing LAUC-B does is offer professional development sessions, culminating in its conference every two years. The 2021 conference (which we posted about here the other day) just concluded, and multiple attendees, from all over the country (and even internationally) said that it was the best one they’ve attended in the past year (just to pat ourselves on the back a little bit!). So, what does a great librarian conference look like?
First of all, it takes a village; this year, for the first time, we Berkeley librarians welcomed librarians from other UC campuses to help us, and we had planning committee members from UCLA, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego. Second, it takes communication; in the online world created by the pandemic, at the same time we both needed to get the word out widely, and we were able to, by using email lists, social media, and other channels. This was so important, because the conference content—which was amazing—depended on us reaching a range of people and settings and locations. Third, it takes flexibility (with a large dose of preparation)! The planning committee was taking the conference from its historical in-person format to happening online for the first time, and that came with many challenges, even given the wonderful support from the Library Events Department—we changed conference platforms at the last minute, we became experts at Zoom bombing prevention, and learned more than we thought possible about captioning so that we could be ADA compliant.
The title of the conference is “Reimagining Libraries Through Critical Library Practices”, and our description notes that: “Library work is embedded in and inherently tied to socio-political circumstances. The programming in this conference examines librarianship through the lenses of social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racist work, Black studies, Latinx studies, Indigenous studies, cultural and critical ethnic studies, intersectional feminism, critical disability studies, postcolonial and decolonial studies, and queer interventions in digital studies.”
We felt extremely fortunate that the proposals we received were so on point and so strong and deep, including: invited keynote presentations from Clara Chu and Lalitha Nataraj; 6 additional featured presentations; 5 lightning talks; and 11 posters (with which attendees had two different time slots to engage). Many of the presenters included a land acknowledgement and/or a positionality statement as they began their talks, engaging the attendees to consider their own locations and positions, and the UC Berkeley statement included this Rematriation Resource Guide from the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust. Attendees also agreed to uphold the conference’s Code of Conduct Statement.
If you’d like a sense of the 2-day event, please take a look at the conference website, and also at our Twitter hashtag. Session recordings will soon be available, linked on the website and hosted on the Library’s YouTube channel. Also notable were the elegant design offerings, including the logo you see above, which were created by UC Berkeley Library staffer and graphic designer Sarah Chieko Bonnickson, as well as the atmospheric and stress-reducing playlist, which was relayed between sessions and about which people raved, by UC Berkeley librarian Kristina Bush. If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact us at laucbconfinfo [at] lists.berkeley.edu, and please enjoy the Twitter screenshots below, while we enjoy our (distanced) celebratory beverages!