I was at PLA on and off this week; here’s what I wrote up for the PLA blog:
“You Can Have a Town, Why Don’t You Take It” 3/25/2008
My PLA adventure started out with a bus.
Although I live here in Minneapolis, I very rarely take the bus–mostly because I work far enough away from where I live to make it too much of a hassle. In order to dodge the cost of parking downtown, however, I was more than willing to expand my traveling horizons. And what a great choice I made! The bus picked me up on the corner of my street, and took me almost all of the way to the convention center; after a short walk down 2nd Ave, I was waiting in line for my registration goodies.
(An aside: I wish registration itself had been a bit more organized, as I was confused about all the lines, but I managed to pick the very fastest line, and got my badge in record time. I never pick the fastest line, so that was a pleasant surprise.)
I attended the Spanish Language Outreach pre-conference. I am the person responsible for the Spanish materials at my branch, and I am also the go-to person for our El Dia celebration. This was a great workshop! Lots of good building blocks and ideas for me to work with, and lots of good resources that I am excited to share with my coworkers. The day did get a little long, but there were plenty of breaks. And we got candy!
I also attended the Meg Cabot author luncheon, which was very entertaining. The food was not so great, but I really enjoyed Meg’s talk. It was funny, and she clearly loves libraries, librarians, books, and writing. She also very patiently signed books, provided by the Red Balloon Bookshop for all of us. Some of my table-mates were not enamoured of her presentation, and thought she was putting on an act, but I’m pretty sure she honestly just talks that way. Her blog is like that too, so I’m pretty sure that’s just the way she is. (If you’ve read her books or her blog, that should give you a pretty good idea of what it was like.)
I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 2005 IFLA conference in Norway as a library student, but PLA is the first conference I have attended as a librarian. So far, it’s been fun. and I look forward to Thursday.
“Land of the Cold Air” 3/27/2008
Stupid, stupid me. I forgot to send myself the e-mail that included all of the login information, and I can no longer access my work e-mail remotely because IT has dinked around and installed a new firewall to keep us safe. And inaccessible. So I’m writing this on my own blog, and then pasting it in to the PLA blog later.
Technology: 1, FL: 0
Thursday morning I bussed to the conference again (so very convenient) and attended Bridging the Gap: Library Services to Latinos at 8:30. This ties in nicely with the pre-conference I attended Tuesday. Since this is part of what I’m supposed to be doing at my library, it makes sense for me to get as much information as I can.
The session was great-it was presented by staff of the Pinewoods Library and Learning Center. Part of what made this session so good was that it was presented as a success story, rather than as a general toolkit of things you can do. General toolkits are great, don’t get me wrong, but it can be both helpful and heartening to hear from actual librarians who actually implemented this sort of a thing successfully at their actual library.
Some of the things they said had been mentioned at the pre-conference (you must go out into the community, they won’t come to you; family is important; consulates are fabulous resources so get in contact with yours), and it was good to see that reiteration. Some of the things they did were unique to their location, like partnering with the Lyndon House Arts Center. The importance of applying for grants was also stressed, and this is certainly something I need to investigate; grants weren’t really addressed all that much at the pre-conference.
I am glad I attended this session, and I certainly have lots of things to think about now, in regards to my own library.
[interlude for vendors and lunch]
I know I’m not supposed to talk about the vendors, but I must say this: I got a galley of the new book by my very favorite author! Joy!!
In the afternoon, I attended Pain in the Brain, which explains why teens do the things they do. Short answer: they don’t do it to get our collective goats, but because of how their brains are developing. (Of course, there are always patrons who are bad on purpose, but those are the exception, rather than the rule.) Some of what was presented we already do at my library, but some of it might be good for us to start doing. Lots to think about, and I’m looking forward to taking a crack at our teens.
The final session of the day was Creating Dynamic Library Atmospheres, which was basically a library makeover presentation, and therefore totally awesome. Again, lots of great ideas. I’m not sure how much I can actually implement at my library because 1) we are part of a county system, and there are county-wide standards that have to be adhered to and 2) we *just* got remodeled. But again, lots of good things think about, and I’ll certainly bring up some of the ideas with my branch manager. The worst that can happen is that the answer is no, right?
I’ll be back at PLA on Saturday to volunteer. No idea what I’ll be doing.
“Take Lyndale to the Horizon” 3/29/2008
Saturday morning I once more hauled myself out of bed too early and bussed to the convention center. My volunteer shift started at 8am, and my first order of business was to find caffeine. And then the local interest booth. Both were achieved.
My volunteer captain was from the Great River Regional Library System, and sadly I have forgotten his name because we went over that before I was fully awake. Oops. If you read this, please remind me what you name is, because I feel like a major jerk right now. [ETA: Thank you, Verne Oleksowicz, for being my fabulous volunteer captain! I am sorry I couldn’t manage to remember your name for more than 5 minutes, but I have used my research skills to track it down.]
The first thing I got to do was drop off Peter Ostroushko CDs to the 8:30 presenters; this was a “thank you for presenting” gift from PLA. There were lots of presenters, so I did a lot of walking. THen it was back to the booth to answer questions. Sadly, there weren’t many questions, but I’m terrible at giving directions, so that was probably a good thing. Mostly I chatted with my captain about our respective library systems, Carnegie libraries, New Orleans, New York, and art. There was another mad dash to deliver CDs to the 10:15 presenters, and then my shift was done. I did stay and help recycle leftover handouts, but that went fairly quickly.
I walked down to Nicollet Mall, caught a bus home, and that was the end of my first PLA experience. I hope I can attend again in the future, because I had a really good time.
I was supposed to go see Nancy Pearl give a workshop this afternoon, but I am have spent too much time this week packed into auditoriums with other librarians. I need a break before I go to work tomorrow. And possibly a cocktail.