RBMS 2016 Blog


M&PD Welcomes New Members to the 2016 RBMS Conference!

The Membership and Professional Development Committee is delighted to extend a special welcome to new members attending the upcoming 2016 RBMS Conference, “Opening Doors to Collaboration, Outreach and Diversity” held in Coral Gables, Florida, June 21-24.

M&PD hosts a number of activities for new members designed to introduce you to the conference, to our organization, and to other members. We hope you will take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about RBMS and to mingle with other passionate members of our profession.

RBMS “Buddy” Program: The Buddy Program provides first time conference attendees with an experienced RBMS member to serve as a guide through the conference experience. Buddies can recommend conference sessions and activities; answer questions about serving on RBMS committees; and introduce you to other RBMS members. Buddy pairs often meet between conference sessions or join up for coffee and/or a meal. Signing up is easy!

Conference Orientation & “Speed Dating” Introduction to RBMS (Tuesday, June 21, 4:00-5:00pm, ALHAMBRA BALLROOM): This hour-long orientation is designed to welcome you to the conference and introduce you to RBMS as an organization. We will begin with a few words of welcome from our Section Chair, Cherry Williams; 2016 Conference Co-Chairs, Lori Dekydtspotter and Aislinn Sotelo; and ABAA Representative, Andrew Gaub. These introductions will be followed by a 30-40 minute “speed dating” session in which representatives from several RBMS Committees will be on hand to discuss their projects. Every 3-4 minutes, attendees will receive a signal to visit a different committee representative, allowing for maximum exposure to our various activities. Don’t worry if you can’t visit as many committees as you’d like! M&PD representatives will be happy to direct you to the appropriate contact person after the event. The Conference Orientation is generously sponsored by Hollinger Metal Edge & Preservation Technologies, L.P.

Please note: RBMS Committees do not convene at the RBMS Conference itself. Committee work occurs at the Midwinter and Annual ALA Conferences.

New Members’ Mixer [$25 ticketed event] (Tuesday, June 21, 5:00-6:30): Following the conference orientation, M&PD invites you to join us for a snack and glass of wine (included in the ticket price) at the New Members’ Mixer. This is an excellent opportunity for new members to get to know one another in a relaxed, intimate setting. Make sure to include this event in your registration! This event is generously sponsored by Atlas Systems.

New Member Lunch Meet Up [$18 BOX LUNCH TICKET-ADVANCE ORDER REQUIRED] (Wednesday, June 22, 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm): Get to know fellow RBMS members over an informal lunch meet up! We’ll chat about our experiences with the Section and explore ways that you can become more involved in the community. This event is co-sponsored with the Diversity Committee.


We realize that it can be overwhelming to attend your first RBMS conference. In addition to participating in the M&PD activities listed above, we offer the following suggestions, based on the past experiences of M&PD Committee members:

  • M&PD Committee volunteers will be wearing special buttons encouraging you to ask questions. Please take advantage of this opportunity for guidance and assistance!
  • Social media can be a great tool for navigating the RBMS Conference. Check out the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) Facebook page for updates on conference planning and events (depending on the page administration, you may have to “like” or “follow” the page). You can also follow RBMS on Twitter (@RBMSinfo) for conference information, and the event itself will use the hashtag #rbms16. (In fact, people are already tweeting about it.) Watching the Twitter feed for the conference is not just helpful for planning, it’s also great while you are at the conference. Many participants live-tweet the sessions they are watching, so it’s often a nice way to keep up with sessions that you can’t attend. Additionally, participants also tweet about informal meetups and social events, so keep your eye on the hashtag!
  • Try out a variety of programming formats, which, this year, will include:

Short Papers Panels: Small sessions based on the conference theme where a few presenters share their experience, ideas, or research.

Participant-Driven Sessions: Semi-formal groups convening around a topic of interest for discussion and debate. May require advanced sign up.

Plenaries: This is the time during the Preconference when all participants attend the same session, with speakers sharing innovative ideas and summaries of best practices.

Posters: One-on-one visual presentations of research, experience, or ideas, where you can ask questions and discuss the topic with the presenter.

Seminars: Small sessions featuring a few presenters; characterized by having an instructional component. Topics are not required to match the conference theme.

Workshops: Full- and half-day-long sessions on specialized topics that occur the day of the opening reception (Tuesday, 6/21). Requires advanced sign-up and additional costs.

  • Take time out from attending sessions to attend a tour or two. Not only do tours introduce you to some amazing local sites and collections, they also provide opportunities to meet new people in a relaxed and congenial setting.
  • Sign up for Restaurant Night! Restaurant night is like the New Member Lunch Meet Up but geared toward all the membership. It’s a great way to learn more about people whom you might not otherwise have the chance to meet.
  • Do not be afraid to talk to more established attendees or members. Most people are very willing to get to know someone new and happy to answer any questions.
  • Attend a session or two on an unfamiliar topic. The new perspective could inform your work in surprising ways!

–By M&PD Co-Chairs, Meghan Constantinou and Melanie Meyers