As a student or new graduate, there are some obvious personal benefits to attending NLS6 :
- contribute to your own professional development
- build your professional networks with other students, new graduates and potential managers (both Australians and Kiwis)
- get enthused about your profession and have an amazing few days with the future faces of our industry
But how do you convince your boss? We have put together some resources to help you convince your employer that it is a worthwhile investment to support you to attend NLS6.
To secure funding from your employer you need first to do some research and put forward a watertight case that will prove it is in the interests of your organisation that you attend NLS6.
Mylee Joseph has some fantastic tips and leading questions to get you started Making a Case for Attending a Conference.
1. Research your organisation’s policies/procedures
What do you need to do to apply? Even if there isn’t a formal application process, you are more likely to succeed if you put in a formal application.
2. Research NLS
Look through the program and look for papers that are relevant to your role and/or your library. Think about it from your managers perspective. Can you relate anything back to your own role/library.
3. What can you give back?
Few people are given Professional development funding without promising something in return. Don’t assume you can’t offer anything because you are in an entry level role – a fresh perspective can be invaluable.
Presentations to staff and reports on what you have learnt are often suggested or required, but think about what small project you could carry out that would have practical results:
- Build a wordpress site for your library after going to Kathryn Greenhill’s workshop
- Check your library’s copyright compliance after attending Ellen Broad’s workshop
- Investigate how your library could implement a virtual storytime with Michelle Collins and Regine Karantzas
4. Plan and budget
Draw up an approximate budget of what it will cost to attend NLS6: registration, accommodation, travel, food, taxis to/from airport. Check out the deals we have arranged and see if there are any sales online for nearby accommodation or travel.
ALA have provided a useful sample memo for attending conferences. You can use this as inspiration or a base and amend this as needed to make your case to attend NLS6 (make sure you adjust it to NLS6 and to your own application). Access in Google Docs here.
See your application as a negotiation process. If your manager can’t justify funding your entire NLS6 application, see if they can pay a section or even just give you conference leave (instead of annual leave) while you fund yourself. Recognise that you may have to put in some extra work outside of work hours to get your application ready and on your return fulfilling all those promises you made to get funding/leave.
Give it a go!
Many libraries will have a budget for staff professional development and it is always worth trying, there might be a bit left over that needs to be spent before the end of 2012!
Don’t lose hope. Putting in an application to attend NLS6 shows your managers that you are eager to develop your career and attend events and the next time you apply for something you might be successful.
Check out our other posts on tips for self funding and other funding possibilities.