Jessica E. Hanley is a Science Liaison Librarian at a University of Toronto. She received a travel grant from ACS Publications to attend the Fall 2019 ACS Meeting and Exposition in San Diego.
I started my career as a Science Librarian in the spring of 2017. I had been looking to attend conferences outside of the field of librarianship for some time, and the ACS Annual Meeting had been on my wish list for some time. I felt very honored when I received the news I had been selected as a grant recipient for this year’s meeting in San Diego.
This was going to be by far the largest conference I have ever attended, and my first conference not focused on librarianship. I was very excited to pick sessions to attend. The theme for this year’s annual meeting was “Chemistry and Water,” but there were sessions geared towards all fields of chemistry, and I was pleasantly surprised to see there were a few that fit my areas perfectly!
Looking at the schedule online, I must admit it was a bit intimidating at first. With so many different divisions, some sessions would appeal to all different types of education and employment backgrounds. While I do have some chemistry in my education and employment background, it has been several years since I have immersed myself in the discipline, so I was eager to choose sessions that would help me to refresh my memory but also improve my professional practice. Jeremy Garritano, incoming chair of CINF, provided me and fellow grant recipients several useful tips, suggestions, and recommendations for deciding what events and sessions to attend. This (along with the ACS mobile app) helped in planning what sessions I wanted to attend and how to get to them.
I won’t list all the sessions I attended, as there were so many. Some of the highlights, though included a session on the Google Patents search engine. I found these sessions extremely useful. I also spent a day entirely focused on web-based chemistry databases. As a Science Librarian, I am also looking for opportunities to learn about new resources that I can share with my faculty and students. I liked that the day was structured so that each presentation was a reasonable length of time. It kept the presentations to the point and the audience engaged. It felt like the day flew by. These sessions were a highlight of the conference. I could see how I could apply that knowledge to my day-to-day work. I was not anticipating there would be such a large number of sessions geared towards librarians, but ACS did an excellent job of making sure all areas of chemistry were covered.
The conference was not all work and no play, however. Each evening there was a variety of different opportunities to engage with other attendees each day. One event was the poster session which featured student research from around the globe. I had the opportunity to speak to a few students about their research and was blown away about how enthusiastic and eager they were to share it. There was also a few mixers where I was able to spend time getting to know fellow Librarians, chemists, and vendors. Everyhad been on my wish list for some time. I felt very honored when I received the news I had been selected as a grant recipient for this year’s meeting in San Diego.
During the event I learned I could become actively involved in ACS and the Chemical Information (CINF) division in ways I didn’t know about before. After discussing this with a few board members, I was excited at the possibility of being more involved. Librarians continue to move toward filling non-traditional roles. Attending an ACS meeting and getting engaged in the CINF division is something I would recommend all Librarians involved in chemistry consider. I am ecstatic that I was able to have this experience and learn so much throughout the conference. I want to thank ACS for this opportunity of a lifetime, and for having such a large number of resources available to information professionals.