Guest Blogger

Final Thoughts of #PLA2024

Four days, eight hours of travel, and 4,482 miles later, the #PLA2024 conference ends. I was able to attend this conference because I had the honor of being awarded the PLA conference scholarship for library students. With these funds, I could participate in my first-ever PLA conference. As a #PLA2024 conference scholarship awardee, I was given a year of ALA and PLA membership, paid complete conference registration, and $750 to help pay for the conference expenses. For this year, there were more than 100 award winners. Check out my fellow peers with this link.

As a conference awardee, I enjoyed admission to an entire conference and attended two special networking events for award winners. The first event allowed me to meet my fellow award winners, hear words from the PLA president, and meet other PLA board members. I also received a special button and an exclusive tote bag! Our second event was a special panel discussion with Mychal Threets!

Oh, the excitement in the room with Mychael Threets was terrific! He shared his personal story about how libraries impacted him, the importance of talking about mental health, and what was in store for his future, such as his upcoming work with PBS. We could hear how he shared advice with the winners and leaders in the room.

I attended many information sessions that allowed me to learn something new, bring information back to the library, and develop new skills. I could grab many books and information pamphlets and make many connections. The information and skills I have created will be beneficial as I graduate and transition into a professional librarian and information professional.

I highly encourage library professionals and graduate students to apply for the scholarship and attend the PLA conference. Attending the conference will allow attendees to network, participate in informative sessions, speak to vendors, and get lots and lots of books!


Valerie Tohom (she/her/hers) is a Graduate student at San Jose State University. She will be graduating in May 2024 and her goal is to become a Youth Services librarian. She enjoyed attending the informational sessions at PLA, as well as meeting ALSC members and fellow scholarship award winners. In addition to ALA and ALSC, Valerie is a member of the California Library Association Youth Services Group and the Membership committee.


This post addresses ALSC Core Competency VII: Professionalism and Professional Development

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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