Participant-Driven: Being the Expert in the Room, Not Necessarily the Expert in the Field (yet)

Thursday, June 21
1:45 pm - 3:15 pm
St. Charles

Participant-Driven: Being the Expert in the Room, Not Necessarily the Expert in the Field (yet)

Sponsored by Iowa State University Library

A group of early- to mid-career Special Collections librarians and archivists will lead small group discussions about the challenges and experiences of being the expert in the room even while still developing one’s expertise. The session will involve four fifteen-minute rounds of group discussions around a set of questions exploring what defines an “expert,” establishing credibility, and growing professionally. Hosts will facilitate conversations and visually record ideas that emerge. At the conclusion of each round, participants will form new groups to continue the conversation with the next question.

Each host brings particular experiences to bear:

  • Amy will initiate discussion by sharing her approaches to building a higher profile for the rare books collection and advocating for an underused section of the library
  • Margaret will facilitate discussion based on her experiences collaborating with expert faculty in rare book collection development, balancing their expertise with her own
  • Rachel Lavenda, as the only rare-books-trained librarian in a department of archivists, will moderate discussion on the ups and downs of becoming a “five-minute expert”
  • Rachel Seale will facilitate discussion on what has and hasn’t worked, in terms of techniques and tools, on cross-unit/department collaborations

After the discussion rounds, we will have 15 minutes for debriefing, when participants may share what they have learned and identify patterns that emerge from the conversations. Participants will leave with a new set of strategies for facing challenging work assignments and with connections to a network of supportive peers