Annie Pho currently works as the Inquiry and Instruction Librarian for Peer Services and Powell Public Programs at UCLA Library. Annie was a managing editor of the Hack Library School Blog, and currently serves as an editor for In the Library With the Lead Pipe team.
What inspired you to be a part of NMRT?
At my very first ALA, I attended a NMRT first time attendee orientation where I met some other library professionals who are now my very good friends. As I was job searching and just starting out in the profession, someone recommended that I join NMRT and sign up for some committees. I liked that it was a round table that was for early-career librarians and had mentoring programs and conference panels geared towards new professionals.
How long were you involved with NMRT?
I was involved with NMRT for about 5 years before I moved into other areas of the professional organization.
How has NMRT helped you grow professionally?
NMRT has quite a bit of conference programming that is geared for new professionals, like networking happy hours, first-time conference attendee orientation, and opportunities to get involved. Through working on NMRT committees and attending NMRT events, I made a lot of friends and got experience working on national level committees. ALA is a pretty large organization, so it’s nice to get started with just one of the smaller subsections of it. As it turns out, a lot of being an academic librarian means working on committees so ALA committee work helped me manage those expectations.
How has your involvement with NMRT impacted your involvement with ALA?
NMRT was really my first experience with working on ALA committees and from there I was able to explore the various divisions to find other organizations that aligned with my interests and my job. When I was earlier in my career, I was really enthusiastic about trying out all the things; but now that I have worked on various committees, I have learned to take it a little easy on the professional service.
What aspects of NMRT would you recommend to our members and why?
If you’re just starting out in the profession and want to meet other library professionals from across the country, I would recommend the NMRT mentoring program. It’s a good way to get good advice on job searching, career stuff, and more. Plus it’s free and doesn’t require any conference attendance. If you end up going to ALA Annual, the new member happy hours are also a fun way to meet other people.
Do you have any additional advice for our members about getting involved with NMRT and ALA?
My advice would be to ask someone who is involved with NMRT about some of the programs that they offer I think there’s actually a few different things that NMRT but no one knows about because the information is buried somewhere in ALA Connect. I hesitate to encourage new professionals (especially those who are job searching) to sign up for committee work because it’s free labor and unpaid; however, NMRT does guarantee committee appointments for anyone who signs up. So if that’s something you are curious about, that’s another option. Many of those committees meet online and don’t require conference attendance.