Washington, DC Chapter

Categorized | Reflections

Reflection – Warming Up

By Laura Choyce

FireFour winters ago, I moved to DC from Atlanta to start my first professional library job. Despite moving from a large southern city with abysmal traffic to another large (somewhat) southern city with abysmal traffic, it was quite an adjustment. Arriving with a plastic ice scraper and light pea coat to my name, the area’s much colder and snowier winters truly humbled me and toughened me up. I also realized I knew so few people, and was so eager to get connected with colleagues in my field that I braved a whole two inches of snow – which sends the average Georgian scurrying for milk and bread — to attend a New Professionals happy hour at the Capital Brewing Company. It was there that I met Deena Adelman, who was recruiting volunteers, and my SLA journey began.

I have many fond memories of SLA, but attending the Annual Conference in Vancouver last year is most fresh in my mind because it was my first opportunity to present at a national conference. I enjoyed reconnecting with many of my DC/SLA colleagues who have helped me tremendously along the way, such as Marie Kaddell, Chris Vestal, and Angela Titone. I received such a warm welcome from Caroline Jones and the legal division, and I realized just how much of a presence librarians in private law firms have in SLA.

It was refreshing to meet many new and interesting people and perspectives from across the continent. My first night in Vancouver, I attended a trivia night and met a librarian who wore exciting, colorful hats each day, a gentleman who had been to 38 SLA conferences, as well as president-elect Tom Rink, a policeman-turned-librarian. I love crime dramas, so I could not resist asking questions about his former gig!

Getting involved in DC/SLA has been a catalyst for my professional and personal development. The chapter is unique due to its size and its involvement. For anyone who is a motivated self-starter, there is opportunity to learn, network, and grow. The skills required for information professionals are constantly evolving. Volunteering with DC/SLA enables me to further my career by filling in skill gaps my current job may not provide, such as managing people. What surprised me most was how quickly I was given opportunities to lead others.

So far in my career, I had never been asked to manage and organize people, so serving as the chair of the Employment and Career Resources Committee last year was a huge step. Deena, who previously chaired the committee, patiently answered so many of my questions. It was certainly a learning experience. It further pushed me out of my comfort zone when planning the speed networking event last April. Between that and planning a wedding, I learned that while event planning was something I felt shaky over, it was something I could do quite well and the experience  gave me confidence in this area.

This year and the past year have been full of many personal changes, and as the weather gets warmer, I am excited to reinvigorate my involvement with DC/SLA and take advantage of what it has to offer.

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  1. […] of Possibilities as Rick Kowalski talks about in his reflection. And as Laura Choyce offers in her Warming Up reflection, warmer weather presents a great opportunity to reinvigorate your involvement with […]


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