ABQLA Travel Bursary Report

Written by Alisa Soukhodolskaia

As one of two recipients of the ABQLA Travel Bursary, I was able to attend the Canadian Library Association (CLA) National Conference and Tradeshow in Victoria, British Columbia from May 28 to May 31, 2014. The $1000 bursary covered the costs of flying across the country and attending the conference, as well as a couple of cups of really good Victoria coffee.

Receiving this award allowed me to network with and learn from librarians outside of Quebec. As someone who immigrated to Quebec at a young age, I am deeply rooted in this province and admire both its Anglophone and Francophone cultures. However, I have found that the two solitudes exist even within the field of librarianship. Since I plan to make my career in the Belle Province, I think it is important to see what the rest of Canada is doing in this field, so that it may inspire my own practice and lead me to become a better librarian by contributing to the development of this profession in Quebec. When I travel for conferences, I report on what I learn so that the library where I work can also participate in a larger conversation between librarians across the country. Going to conferences introduces me to inspiring librarians. There are many aspects of librarianship being discussed at conferences that are crucial to my professional development. I believe that it is detrimental to only pay attention to what is going on in one’s own library. By hearing about other interesting programs and projects other libraries are implementing, I can help ours keep pace with new developments.

An unexpected benefit of winning this award was being able to organize a networking event for Montreal and Francophone librarians during the CLA Conference along with Christine Smith, my fellow CLA Montreal Network co-moderator and ABQLA member. It resulted in a valuable connection with a Montreal librarian whom I otherwise would not have met and gave me the opportunity to promote this award.

I would like to thank the ABQLA for creating this bursary and for showing such a strong commitment to professional development within our field, as well as thank all of those responsible for my winning this award, namely my supportive colleagues and director and the volunteers who sit on the Awards Committee. To those thinking of applying, it is well worth the effort to reflect on your career and professional goals and put together a stellar application.