Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ARSL Conference Notes – September 2014 

On September 3 – 6, I attended the ARSL (Association for Rural and Small Libraries) Conference in Tacoma, Washington and found it to be a very worthwhile experience. Well organized and complete with good food and a great setting, the conference offered a number of break-out sessions helpful to small/rural libraries. 

On Thursday and Friday, we had breakfast and lunch speakers and 3 breakout sessions each day. On Saturday, Clancy Pool (Library Journal Para-librarian of the Year) gave a dynamic presentation – From Farm Wife to Cover Girl - about bringing a new spirit and library to her small town of about 500 people in Washington State’s Whitman County. While all the speakers gave interesting addresses, Clancy’s was a great one with which to conclude the conference. 

A few points I noted from her talk include: 
  • People like to donate to specific things. 
  • Look for resources to improve your library. 
  • Find a mentor and be a mentor. 
Here’s a link to the Library Journal story about Clancy. It's worth reading.

Uniquely Connected: Expanding Community in 21st Libraries (Speaker Karen Archer Perry at Thursday's Breakfast)

Karen stressed that libraries sit at the junction of knowledge, service, and communities, and that she thinks “librarian super powers will save the world.” These powers, or tools for change, include trust, knowledge, technology, and place. 

Points I noted:
  • If you want to get people into your library, get out into the community and meet people where they are. 
  • Only 23% of the public says they really know what’s going on at their library. 
  • People love the core services that libraries offer. 
  • People need help navigating to things of meaning to them, and librarians can do this. 
  • Librarians are America’s digital literacy corps. 
  • eReader tablet growth is significant, yet 62% said they didn’t know libraries loaned eBooks. 
  • Create an experience, not a product. (This was a prominent theme throughout the sessions I attended. My take on this concept is that we focus on service, and the product follows.) 
I have more notes to add from other sessions, so I will continue to post.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Black Eyed Susan Tapestry

On Sat., Sept. 13, I attended a program in Westminster MD about the 2014 Black Eyed Susan Award books.  We had to read about 15 books in advance in three different age categories and come prepared to discuss them with other children's public library specialists in Maryland.  The books I read were in the categories of picture books, gr. 4-6 books, and gr. 6-9 books. Pat Goff, who is the chairperson for the Black Eyed Susan Award committee gave a brief introduction. We each attended three one hour sessions.  There were about 10 librarians discussing the books in the various categories in each session.  The discussions were led by a moderator who had participants summarize the books and speak to their salient points.  I enjoyed talking about the literature and made notes on a few books that I may need to order for our collection.  Mary Amato, a children's author who lives in the Washington D.C. area was the keynote speaker for the day and talked about the influence of music on her books as well as how her own life is reflected in some of the stories she writes. After Mary's program, there were  presentations on the best middle grade and picture books of 2014.  Over all, I enjoyed the day very much.  I don't get to have discussions about topics in children's literature very much, and it was nice to see some of the other professionals in the field and ask them about their programs and collections.