It’s that time of the year again: the time for the annual conference update. At the start of the month, my state’s library association held its annual conference. Like years past, I attend and plan to bring you a few highlights. Don’t worry, this won’t be the nine-pages of typed notes condensed from my 40 handwritten pages.
Now, let the highlights begin:
- One session focused on reference and interlibrary loan regarding government documents. Approximately 95% are now available online, some full text and others indexed. I may have to list all of these in a later post, but one to take immediate note of is the FDLP Digitization Project Registry. It lists all known government digitization projects by category.
- I attended two sessions that focused on special needs students. While obvious to those in education, a key point in both was to ensure there are modifications to activities where a disabled student may be participating. Not doing so makes them feel excluded and they may think the library is not a friendly place. (This to could be a post if its own, complete with my own past examples.)
- When starting a weeding project, be sure to have a firm guidelines in place and document why each items was removed. Not doing so could lead to public outcry if vast weeding is done. (Again, this could be another post itself with my past experiences included.)
- If working in a special library, such as one within a business or hospital, be sure to promote library resources in-house. Many employees overlook the service. It is a good idea to provide a library overview during employee orientation and have periodic activities, such as book talks or open houses. Swag is always helpful, too!
- My favorite session was one on visual thinking strategies. I think I’ll do a whole post on this later, but it is a way to use images to promote critical thinking. What makes the method great is that it does not matter what learning level someone is at because each individual will still have a base knowledge to build and expand upon.
- With this blog and my job in mind, I attended a session on writing blog posts, annotations, and book reviews. While I try to so this whenever possible, the session reminded participants of the need to go beyond the summary and provide opinions with the book reviews and blog posts. Per annotations, the idea is to summarize and provide a “hook” to readers to draw interest in the title. It was also suggested that libraries periodically share themed booklists via a blog post.
- I also attended two sessions that focused on reader’s advisory, but neither were as good as the one from last year’s conference; a session that examined the new ACRL Frameworks for Information Literacy in Higher Education; and one on creating an online book club. I ended the conference by attending the association’s business meeting.
The most fun conference session was the closing keynote by William Ottens who runs the site Librarian Problems. It was a non-stop laugh track. Check out his website to understand why.
Of course, besides the learning there was the social side of the conference. I drove out and bunked with my friend and mentor. We chatted the whole way out. We also enjoyed several great places to eat. One was a local brewery with a great food menu and another was a local market with a food court. I went back to the latter right before leaving to buy items to take back to my apartment. I also enjoyed seeing other friends, former classmates, and coworkers. If nothing else, I had to opportunity to speak with them for a bit during the vendor fair or between sessions. I also had lunch with three of my current co-workers the last day and many of them sat at the same table as me during the vendor breakfast the previous day. This year, the conference debuted a trivia night and that was great fun; we even took second place, losing by one question.
Then for the first year ever, I actually had money to make conference purchases! Two of the three university presses were offering steep discounts on their titles and I came home with two books. One was on the Civil War in the big city nearest home. The other was a collection of previously unreleased letters between a former president and his wife, edited by their grandson. As I have visited this president’s presidential library and home in the past, this book piqued my interest. I also bought the cutest penguin tote from the Thirty-One booth. Outside of the conference and foodstuff, I added several postcards to my collection and brought home one magnet.
Needless to say, after all of this I was exhausted! Upon my return, I slept 12 hours straight! And I was still sluggish after that!