ACRL 2015 in Portland, Oregon

I attended my first ACRL conference last weekend in Portland, Oregon. It was a really good experience, so I’m glad I made the trip!

I participated in my first panel, which was my main point in going. There was a decent turnout for our panel, especially for the last time slot of the day, 4-5pm. I felt like my part was less polished than the others, but I did get some nice feedback from an attendee afterward. (I’m looking forward to getting involved in Toastmasters again to polish my public speaking skills!)

Librarians like to socialize at library conferences, I’ve learned, and I did enjoy three different evening events. The first was the ACRL Chair’s Reception on Thursday night at the Left Bank Annex. Friday night, I attended the Hack Library School Blog Meetup at White Owl Social Club, then went to the All-Conference Reception at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I met several new people and exchanged some business cards. Good networking and yummy food!

On Saturday, I enjoyed playing tourist in Portland! Saturday morning, I went to Powell’s, a famous bookstore in Portland, where I enjoyed browsing and made a few purchases. After lunch at Deschutes, a local pug and brewery, I visited the Portland Art Museum, which had a special exhibit on Italian fashion since 1945. Since I’m studying Italian on my own, I really enjoyed this exhibit!

On Saturday evening, I enjoyed a fun dinner with my cousin Melanie and her family at E-San Thai, where I had a yummy Pumpkin Curry dish. It was a great way to end my trip!

Learning Italian

italyAs a new MLS-holder, I’ve been thinking about skills that I can learn or improve on that would enhance my professional development. After looking over some job postings recently, one of the common skills I noticed was knowledge of a foreign language. I took French and German in high school, and French, German, and a semester of biblical Hebrew in college, but all of that was “a while ago!” I’ve considered restarting one of those languages, but haven’t been inspired to continue. I decided to pick a new-to-me language, and have recently started working on Italian.

Why Italian, you ask? Italy’s a country I’d love to visit! I also love Italian food. Plus, there’s so much culture (music, art, literature) and history tied to Italy!

So, I’ve started by trying out a few iPhone apps with Italian vocabulary, flashcards, and games. My library offers the foreign language learning database Transparent, and I’m using Duolingo (thanks to a recommendation on Twitter) as well. I’ve also downloaded an iPhone app called WordPower, that’s associated with For extra inspiration, I’ve started reading the book, La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language.

How’s it going so far? My progress is slow but sure. Will I ever become fluent? Realistically, it’s hard to say. But it’s fun learning something new!