Something I would definitely like to do in the next 12 months is submit, write and present a paper at a library conference. If I weren't involved in organizing it, I would definitely be interested in presenting a paper at the ALIA New Librarians' Symposium, being held in Sydney in December 2006.
Although I'm approaching the margins of what is a new librarian, I definitely feel that I am a new librarian in Australia. The new librarians/grads activities have been a great way to meet people who are in similar places in their career, with similar issues. It's quite possible that I'll be rubbing shoulders with many of these new librarian peers for the rest of my career, in some shape or form, so it's good to get know them in the more relaxed environment that is new librarian activities.
A similar thing applies with conferences and papers. Activities like the New Librarian's Symposium are an ideal way of testing the waters with presenting papers at conferences. It's a great opportunity to see if you have the skills and interest to do this, in a friendlier and less intimidating environment than some of the major conferences.
On the other hand, this doesn't mean that the actual topics are going to be bland and unremarkable. Activities that are run by and for new librarians usually have a characteristic edge. We know that we have things to say about this career which we're contemplating investing the next 30 or so years of our working life, and we expect to be listened to.
Although blogging is one outlet which allows me to exercise my reading, writing and analytical skills, it is not the same and cannot replace that direct and immediate contact with one's peers in a real life audience. Sometimes it just doesn't seem possible to attend conferences - sadly this has often been my situation. But remember, unless you have an extremely stingy employer, you are more likely to get funding to attend these conferences if you are presenting a paper.
The call for papers for the ALIA New Librarians' Symposium closes on March 31.