APA Librarian Conference Travel Award: Reflections from the Spring 2019 Recipient on the International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries

Photo of HyunSeung Koh

HyunSeung Koh, PhD of the University of Northern Iowa received the APA Librarian Conference Travel Award in the spring of 2019. She used the award to defray the cost of attendance at the International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries (LibPMC) annual conference in Aberystwyth, Wales in July. In support of her research involving the first year experience of international students, APA was pleased to help HyunSeung pursue this especially valuable opportunity for professional development, networking, and serving the field of librarianship.  

Patti Avellanet of the Customer Engagement team for APA Publishing recently talked with HyunSeung about her conference experience. The following transcript of their conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and context. 

Patti: Hi, HyunSeung! We’re pleased that we were able to support your conference travel this past summer. What is your overall impression of the International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries (LibPMC)? 

HyunSeung: It’s small but mighty! With 121 attendees from 21 countries, it included a wide range of current and key topics in relation to library assessment. It was also a great venue for obtaining useful and practical insights from presenters with diverse cultural backgrounds, including non-American cultures. 

Patti: It sounds like an impressive opportunity to exchange ideas, especially given your research interests involving the first year experience of international students. Were there any particularly noteworthy events that come to mind? 

HyunSeung: Speaking of impressive, that’s exactly the word that came to mind when I heard the “Pacman” metaphor in the opening remarks! It’s a powerful analogy that explicitly shows participants what a small group of people talking in a closed circle could do to foster non-verbal welcoming behaviors and environments. I also enjoyed presentations from two keynote speakers from non-library disciplines, who did their best in delivering their different but controversial viewpoints in respectful ways. There was also a panel discussion consisting of members with diverse backgrounds in positions and cultures, which was organized according to up-to-date and controversial topics. 

Patti: I think Pacman, differing viewpoints, and diverse professions all lend themselves well to memorable and lively discussions – especially when happening under the same umbrella! Was the rest of the conference as valuable as you had hoped?  

HyunSeung: It was not an easy commitment for me to decide to attend this conference, requiring lots of planning ahead for a long international trip to a small city in Wales, UK, from a small city in Iowa. But I’m so glad I did! In the past, I spent most of my time and effort presenting my research work and attending sessions at a conference venue. This time, though, I also got to visit a university campus in the conference venue that has a main library and an arts center, and a culturally-rich city with historical buildings and sites such as the National Library of Wales. In particular, I really enjoyed exploring the main library in a non-American country, looking around each floor and collecting small paper pamphlets. 

Patti: Visiting the National Library of Wales and taking in nearby cultural attractions sounds like a fantastic opportunity, especially after you’ve traveled so far! 

HyunSeung: It really was! Attending this conference provided me with such a unique experience – not only the serious learning from the conference itself, but also authentic learning from the conference venue’s location and surroundings. Individual presentations, especially from non-American presenters, were useful and insightful. They helped me to learn practical knowledge within unique contexts, and to remember that cultures and contexts are such critical factors. As an assessment librarian, I really appreciated this explicit reminder to challenge my own assumptions and not take them for granted. 

Patti: “Aha!” moments like that often seem simple but no less profound. Did you leave with any useful takeaways you felt could be put into practice immediately? 

HyunSeung: A free workshop I attended, “Data Librarianship,” turned out to be a hidden gem. It helped me learn not only about practical skills but also about a global community of “library carpentry.” There’s a website full of resources that I can use right away for a project that a colleague and I recently received a federal grant for. (Editor’s note: Library Carpentry is a volunteer effort working to build software and data skills within library and information-related communities.) 

Patti: What a serendipitous and timely discovery for you and your grant-funded colleague! Would you recommend this conference to others? 

HyunSeung: This would be a great conference for assessment librarians who want to get immediate help with any “burning questions” and practical insights from other assessment librarians within other institutions and cultures. I would also recommend it to those in administrative or leadership positions, playing such a critical role in the context of library assessment – and anyone else who wants to learn about practical knowledge and skills in terms of library assessment. 

Patti: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

HyunSeung: I want to encourage librarians at early career stages to apply for this APA Librarian Conference Travel Award. In addition to the possibility of financial support, the application process provides a good opportunity to consider your career trajectory while writing the application letter; to plan ahead for what you want to learn from a conference even before travel starts; and to reflect again afterward upon what you actually learned from the conference [through this Q & A]. 

Patti: We appreciate that you’ve called out how even the application process can benefit your early-career colleagues, and we’re pleased to have played a role in supporting your professional development. Best wishes to you, and thanks so much for talking with me today.   


Would you or a librarian you know benefit from receiving an APA Librarian Conference Travel Award?

Now through November 30, 2019, the APA Librarian Conference Travel Award program is accepting applications for conferences taking place from January to April 2020.

The award is intended to help defray conference-related expenses for librarians with less than 15 years of experience after receiving their MLS / MLIS. One cash award is distributed three times each calendar year, and the application cycle opens and closes on a rolling basis. We are not currently limiting the conferences that are eligible for travel award funding. Applicants should identify the conference that best meets their professional needs and explain how attendance will support their current duties and future goals.

Please see the website for more details on eligibility, deadlines, and application materials. Questions about the APA Librarian Conference Travel Award should be directed to librariantravel@apa.org. Please help us spread the word by sharing this information with colleagues and friends who may be eligible!

Sarah Johnson Receives a 2019 APA Librarian Conference Travel Award

Photo of Sarah Johnson

We are pleased to announce that Sarah Johnson, Assistant Professor and Reference & Instruction Librarian at CUNY Hunter College, was recently selected to receive an APA Librarian Conference Travel Award. Ms. Johnson will use the award to attend annual meeting of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in Denver in October.

As both a librarian and a Licensed Master Social Worker, the award selection committee noted that Ms. Johnson’s application demonstrated her strong commitment to a multi-faceted research agenda that will simultaneously benefit the fields of social work and librarianship. Ms. Johnson is scheduled to present her research involving two separate projects that have explored the ways in which social work students and educators experience public libraries as field placements.

Thank you to all who took time to apply – librarians working in a wide variety of institutions and positions. The applicant pool is always strong, and the committee encourages previous applicants to apply again when they are next in need of conference funding.

The next award cycle is currently underway! Is there a conference happening sometime between January and April 2020 you’d like to attend for professional development as an academic or health sciences librarian? Please visit our website for details on eligibility, required application materials, and rolling deadlines. Current deadline: November 30, 2019.

APA Librarian Conference Travel Award: Apply by 11-30 for Spring 2020 Conferences

Do you work in an academic or health sciences library in the United States? Are you an early- or mid-career librarian? Are you looking for sources of funding for a conference you’d like to attend this spring?

If the answer to all of those questions is yes, please consider applying for an APA Librarian Conference Travel Award! Through November 30, 2019, we are accepting applications for conferences taking place from January to April 2020. This includes – but is not limited to – the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology, ALA Midwinter, Electronic Resources & Libraries, Code4Lib, and the Annual Conference on the First Year Experience.

The award is intended to help defray conference-related expenses for librarians with less than 15 years of experience after receiving their MLS or MLIS. One cash award is distributed three times each calendar year, and the application cycle opens and closes on a rolling basis. At this time, we are not limiting the conferences that are eligible for travel award funding. Applicants should identify the conference that best meets their professional needs and explain how attendance will support their current duties and future goals.

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Apply by August 2: APA Librarian Conference Travel Award

Do you work in an academic or health sciences library in the United States? Are you an early- or mid-career librarian? Are you looking for sources of funding for a conference you’d like to attend in late spring or summer?

If the answer to all of those questions is yes, please consider applying for an APA Librarian Conference Travel Award. There’s still plenty of time to get your application package together!

This program has three annual rolling deadlines, and the next one is August 2, 2019 (extended from July 31). Submit your application for a conference taking place from September through December 2019. This includes – but is not limited to – the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, the Charleston Library Conference, the Internet Librarian International Conference, and the Library Marketing & Communications Conference.

The award is intended to help defray conference-related expenses for librarians with less than 15 years of experience after receiving their MLS/MLIS. One cash award is distributed three times each calendar year, and the application cycle opens and closes on a rolling basis. At this time, we are not limiting the conferences that are eligible for travel award funding. Applicants should identify the conference that best meets their professional needs, and explain how attendance will support their current duties and future goals.

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HyunSeung Koh Receives a 2019 APA Librarian Conference Travel Award

We are pleased to announce that HyunSeung Koh, Assessment Librarian and Assistant Professor at the the University of Northern Iowa, recently received the APA Librarian Conference Travel Award. Ms. Koh will use the award to attend the International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries in Aberystwyth, Wales in July.

Photo of HyunSeung Koh

The award committee commended Ms. Koh’s involvement in her research team’s development of a unique research agenda – the first year experience (FYE) of international students, an important and timely topic. Furthermore, Ms. Koh will be presenting this research project at an international conference, an achievement which the committee considered to be exceptional given its occurrence so early in her career.

Thank you to all who took time to apply – librarians working in a wide variety of institutions and positions. The applicant pool is always strong, and the committee encourages previous applicants to apply again when they are next in need of conference funding.

Now through July 31, 2019, the APA Librarian Conference Travel Award is accepting applications for conferences taking place from September to December 2019. Please visit our website for details on eligibility, deadlines, and required application materials.