Scholarship Report: Jill Nysse – ITEM Conference 2018

Event:  Information Technology Educators of Minnesota (ITEM) Conference — Alexandria, MN — October 25-27, 2018

Attendee:  Jill Nysse – Library Media Specialist/Instructional Coach – Winona Area Public Schools


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

This year I have changed grade levels and also had Instructional Coach/Technology Integrationist added to my library media position. The Information Technology Educators Conference had so many sessions that related to both the library media specialist and the technology integrationist.  The conference committee always invites a number of authors, and I loved visiting with the authors and enjoyed the author panel during lunch.  I organize a yearly Elementary Author visit, so this was the perfect opportunity gather contacts and ideas for next year.  The professional development this conference offered was some of the best I’ve seen and I found myself wishing there was more time in the day!  The sessions on Google Classroom and Flipgrid were especially good, but I also enjoyed seeing what had been done using WeVideo, as well as a top 10 list of tips and tricks from Google.  The final event on Saturday was an “unconference”.  At an unconference, the participants get to set the agenda and suggest topics that they could either teach or topics that they want to learn more about. This was perfect for me–and yes, I was of course, the learner.

I sincerely thank SELCO for their ongoing commitment to professional development.  It is, without a doubt, the backbone of our profession!  The SELCO workshops I have attended have all been excellent and I am very grateful for the scholarship opportunities SELCO offers.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

I would have to say the “hands on” sessions with Flipgrid were my favorites.  I use the plural intentionally since the Flipgrid team offered a session on Friday, and during the “unconference” on Saturday, the very first session proposed was on Flipgrid.  In fact, Flipgrid unconference sessions were offered in all three slots, so obviously many people were interested in learning about it.  I had been looking for an easy way to record the voices of kindergartners reading.  Anything we used also had to be free.  Flipgrid was free and was advertised as easy, so it definitely was something worth looking into.  The developer of Flipgrid spoke at the opening keynote session.  I was impressed with his description of Flipgrid as a way to give the students a voice.  It definitely has a use as a platform that creates a community and provides a voice to members of the community.  In my case, I was looking at it in a more utilitarian way.

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

My biggest takeaway was that our profession is constantly changing and most of us have had to, or will have to, reinvent ourselves and become advocates for the profession.  It was really frightening to hear that districts continue to eliminate library/media professionals, even in the face of declining reading scores.

What’s one (1) idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

I am interested in trying to use Flipgrid to record voices and then create QR codes of young readers.  I also appreciated some of the ideas, and tips from the Google team in their session.  I know I will be using those right away.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would definitely recommend this to others.  Whether you are a library media specialist or tech integrationist or any of the many titles/jobs that we encompass, belonging to and supporting a professional organization is vitally important.  As incomprehensible as it is to us, many school districts are replacing licensed staff with paras or even eliminating the positions completely.  Our organization speaks to and lobbies for the continuation of professionals in our schools.  The organization needs our support.  The sessions offered at ITEM 2018 were excellent and offered something for everyone.  The opportunity to network with others in the profession is priceless (no humor or reference to the credit card ad intended).  I made two contacts with people from my area that I feel with be invaluable as I transition to this new role.  I should add that there is fun built into the conference with the trivia night (plus prizes!).  Whether you are a book person or a techie–or likely both–this conference has something for everyone.

Scholarship Report: Nancy Hackenmiller – MLA Conference 2018

Event:  Minnesota Library Association (MLA) Conference — St. Cloud, MN — October 11-12, 2018

Attendee: Nancy Hackenmiller – Library Assistant, Kasson Public Library


What was your favorite session you attended and why?

My favorite session was “12 DIY Adult Programs” presented by Laura Morlock on Thursday afternoon.  She was enthusiastic about the programs at her library, highlighting her PowerPoint presentation with photos of the various events.  I was intrigued with the variety of the adult programming at Wescott Library.  I have since been in contact with Laura via email to learn more from her and to pass on an activity that has been successful here at my library!

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

Gina Millsap, Friday’s keynote speaker, had a message that has remained with me.  In fact, I am now reading the two books which she recommended: “Rising to the Challenge” and “Built to Last”.  Her call to librarians to embrace their role as community leaders was important to hear.  And her many examples of effecting change in a timely fashion were the impetus to musing on what could be/should be changed at MY library.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

Yes, I would very strongly encourage others to attend the annual conference.  It is a wonderful venue for gathering new ideas, connecting with vendors, broadening horizons, and gaining a renewed sense of purpose.  Spending two full and busy days with a large group of people, all committed to libraries, is a very uplifting experience!

Horizon Library Basics Completed

Pat yourselves on the back, everyone with a Horizon login completed the class by the deadline!  We started with over 400 logins last October, and after deleting unused accounts, 334 people completed the class.  This is a huge success! 


Going forward, every time you have a new hire at your library, the Library Basics class will be assigned to them and they will have 60 days to complete it.  This should help all of the libraries stay on track and have the same basic training in Horizon.  You are always welcome to go back and look through the class again, and if you haven’t printed them already, the handouts for the class are on the last page of the training. 


Congratulations!

Some comments from the final survey of the Library Basics Class:

  • I appreciated the ‘refresher’.
  • Very favorable. Any new employee should take this online training after “shadowing” on the job for a day.
  • Also, this information should be printed and placed in the library’s procedure book.
  • It is a very good basic training course for someone new to working in a library or to brush up basics.
  • I thought it was easy to follow and understand. The videos did a great job at showing me exactly what I need to do. It did a good job at preparing me for this job.
  • It’s a good review, and a reminder that there are multiple ways to do the same thing.
  • I like the training!
  • Very informative. I learned a lot.
  • Quick and dirty. Or clean…easy and informative.

Scholarship Report: Chris Beckman – ABOS Conference 2018

Event: Association of Bookmobile & Outreach Services (ABOS) Conference — Raleigh, NC — October 17-19, 2018

Attendee: Chris Beckman – Bookmobile Driver, Rochester Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

The ABOS conference is held every year in a different quadrant of the country.  The gathering of library staff are strictly associated with outreach outside of the brick and mortar walls.  There are a lot of Bookmobile drivers/associates to speak with regarding all the outreach activities that I do at Rochester Public Library including homebound, deposit collection delivery to assisted living centers and daycares, and Bookmobile service in Olmsted county.  These conversations can be used during day to day services.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

There was a session called “Bookmobile Buzz” that I keep thinking about.  The presenter is a vendor that specializes in Bookmobile request for purchases.  We used him when we designed ours at Rochester.  Generators have always been a stickler nationwide on bookmobiles because of their nature.  They run at high speeds and susceptible to dirt and road debris causing a lot of maintenance problems.  The future is close at getting rid of generators totally using cadmium and lithium ion batteries that have tons of power storage.  We are using lead batteries currently and replace them every 3 years, these [ion batteries] last 15-20 years.  Hopefully we can get by in 3 years from now to start using these!

What’s one (1) idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

I attended a session on truck checklists before starting the route.  I am going to start using this form to see if it is better than our current checklist.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

The conference is well organized and set up well for all staff dealing with outreach and would recommend to others.  It can give staff ideas gained from other libraries around the country that can be implemented at your library.  Face to face conversations can be priceless compared to modern day email and texting!

Scholarship Report: DeAnna McCabe – MLA Conference 2018

Event: Minnesota Library Association (MLA) Conference — St. Cloud, MN — October 11-12, 2018

Attendee: DeAnna McCabe – Director, Hokah Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

This was a great opportunity for me!  I learned about advocacy, branding and why it is important to have people see your logo and know right away it stands for your library.  I learned more about summer reading.  I was able to see the different gadgets that were available to purchase for your library.  I learned how to build relationships with teenagers when they come in.

What’s one (1) idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

I came into this journey very new to the Library world May 2018.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but found out very quickly!  One of the things that the library did was start there Summer Reading Program beginning of June.  One of the sessions I went to was Summer Reading: Keep them Reading!  I learned to do a Kick Off will help, the program will likely get more attendance and participation if you start getting pamphlets out and kids aware of the program the last week in May when they are still in school.  Contact your local newspaper to put a brief in.  Go to the ALS youth service Pinterest page.  Arrowhead libraries have several great ideas about iREAD.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would recommend this event to others, even if you have been with a library for years!  There were several good training’s and new ideas!  The speakers over lunch were excellent. T here is a hall full of neat things that could be purchased for your library.  There are a lot of different opinions and comments as to what works for some libraries and what doesn’t work.  I had the opportunity to meet other librarians and aides.

Scholarship Report: Jon Allen – ALSC National Institute 2018

Event: Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) National Institute — Cincinnati, OH — September 27-29, 2018

Attendee: Jon Allen – Librarian I, Rochester Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

This is event is the single most relevant conference I know of relating to my job as a Youth Services Librarian where 100% of the content of the conference is focused on services to children/youth.  I am able to learn what other libraries and experts are doing and how I might be incorporate their practices/research into my own work.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

My favorite session was called “When Leveling Helps, When it Doesn’t, and How Libraries Can Make the Best of It” in which James Erekson, Coordinator of Masters in Reading Degree Program and Associate Professor at the School of Teacher Education, University of Northern Colorado talked about the history and intent of leveling systems and how they are used today in conjunction with various national and state standards.  It was a controversial topic and has been a source of frustration for many youth services librarians around the country for some time now.  It was very enlightening to learn the history of such systems and the presenters gave some good advice as to how to deal with their use in the community/schools vs. at the (public) library.

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

One of the biggest takeaways was learning about Anji Play which is a Chinese philosophical approach to play and learning in children ages 3-6.  I am eager to try to implement parts of this philosophy into our programs.

What’s one (1) idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

Anji Play – perhaps not in an official “branded” way but to use a similar approach in designing programs.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would definitely recommend this conference to all Youth Services Librarians as it really is the best youth centered conference for librarians out there.  This is the second time I have been and each time it has been extremely rewarding and enriching.  They announced the location in 2020 will be in Minneapolis!

Scholarship Report: Lezlea Dahlke – ARSL Conference 2018

Event: Association of Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference — Springfield, IL — September 13-15, 2018

Attendee: Lezlea Dahlke – Director, Winona Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

Several of the sessions I attended were in direct correlation to current trends or projects we’ve been working on, big or small: building diversity and social capital, improving library signage, serving underserved or homeless populations, designing a strategic plan.  It was timely to inspire new ideas and have a lot of questions/concerns answered.  I am always in awe of the big things small libraries are making happen for their communities, on shoestring budgets.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

The standout session I attended was “Your Library within Your Community” by Gavin Woltjer, the Director of Billings Public Library.  It focused on identifying the community’s needs–who do we serve?  How would they describe us…and does it make you happy?  How are we a voice within our community and is it passive or proactive in building goodwill?  He talked about how people have a bond of affection around their libraries and our leadership philosophy should match that: we are the host and patrons are our guest.  We want warm fuzzies when they think of us.  Craft a narrative that gives a heartbeat so people can believe in our mission.  Identify the 3-4 things we do really well and build on that to grow a cooperative spirit and use staff talents.  Libraries can always do better at transparency–how we get our message out and how people know about us.  Be adaptable–know what season we are in and be preparing for the next season, ability to change with the world.  “Serving Underserved” by the Director of Trinidad CO Public Library had some succinct takeaways: The most important service we offer is that we are welcoming.  Listen w/o judgement and help as much as you can to humanize connections.  Going fine-free gives people grace…don’t make them choose between belly hunger and hunger of the imagination.  I also enjoyed the “Library Signage” session with Curtis Rogers from SC State Library Services–do a sign audit on your building…good for a laugh!

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

I really enjoyed the networking at mealtimes: breaking bread with folks from Washington State, Alaska, North Carolina, Virginia and Arkansas.  It was great to hear how (mostly) alike we are in service populations and to also hear lots of other sessions summarized and brainstormed around the table, as there were many great options on the agenda.  Biggest takeaways: new ideas on growth mindset and how to build human capital, challenges vs. opportunities, how important it is to also be part of the community we serve and to be the third place–where people want to be if they aren’t at work or home.

Scholarship Report: Ingvild Herfindahl – ARSL Conference 2018

Event: Association of Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference — Springfield, IL — September 13-15, 2018

Attendee: Ingvild Herfindahl – Director, Dodge Center Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

This is a great conference because it is geared to small libraries with small budgets.  The sessions cover everything from managing staff to program planning to collections.  Since small library directors have to cover all those things (and more), this is a very useful conference.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

I enjoyed the Library of Things session, because it expanded the idea of what a library is and what items can be lent out of your collection.

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

ARSL is a wonderful resource and a great way to network and get ideas from libraries all over the country who are in a similar situation.

What’s one (1) idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

A session I went to talked about removing barriers to access, including fines.  I would like to look at scaling back or removing fines on late items at our library.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

Definitely.  More than any other library conference, the ideas that you gain from ARSL are immediately applicable in your library.  The librarians there are helpful, resourceful, and more than willing to share ideas that have worked for them.

Scholarship Report: LaVonne Beach – ARSL Conference 2018

Event: Association of Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference — Springfield, IL — September 13-15, 2018

Attendee: LaVonne Beach – Director, La Crescent Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

Attending this conference is a way to learn what other library’s are doing on small or nonexistent budgets.  It is always interesting to see how others are making their library’s be the focal point in their communities.  The break out sessions are relevant to what I/we do on a daily basis or what we strive to do.  The committee that puts together the break out sessions reviews the topics to be sure that they are something that rural and small librarians can use.  The topics ranged from programming, fund-raising, making your library relevant to your community, human resources, physical arrangement of your library and everyone’s favorite statistics.  One of the great things about this conference is the breakfast and lunch sessions.  I always try to sit with a different group every time.  The conversations around the table are normally about what sessions we attended and what we learned.  It is not only a great way to connect with other librarians but to get the executive summary on the sessions you didn’t attend.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

I had two sessions that stand out more than the others although I will say that all but one of the sessions were extraordinary!  “Attracting the Elusive Teen” was a favorite.  They outlined what they feel teens need: a safe place; a place to hangout; free WiFi; privacy/respect; direction in relation to future plans; a friend/place to belong.  What teens want from the library: technology that they do not have at home; a study space.  To build teen services we need to make them feel welcome and build the relationships with the teens that are currently coming in.  Go to where the teens are to attract the ones that are not coming in to the library.  For one of the presenters that meant going to the local Quick Mart and connecting with the teens there.  Build your base with the tweens and change your expectations.  Eavesdrop to find out what teens are talking about and what is important to them.  Try different program names like: Bad A$$ Crafts, Hipster Crafts or DIY Crafts.  “So Bad it’s Good Movie Night” with heckling encouraged.  Give them marshmallows or cotton balls to throw at the screen.  Make it interactive.  I loved when one of the presenters said that we want teens “running in to the library not running out”.  Another favorite was “30 Ways to Extraordinary”.  This focused more on staffing, which seemed to be a thread at the conference.

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

We focus so much on the patrons that it is easy to forget that we need to also focus on staff.  In the session “Low Cost/No Cost Ways to Reward Your Staff” I was reminded that in the craziness of our work days it is easy to overlook how over-worked and stressed the employees are.  We as directors need to show our employees that they are appreciated and valued.

What’s one (1) idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

I have more than one, of course!  1) Giving the staff that filled in for me so I was able to go some extra time off – with pay. I want them to know that the extra effort was appreciated and so are they.  2) In terms of making our library extraordinary — * Pay attention to the entrance of the library making sure it is safe, clean and attractive;  * Make sure our signage is consistent and contains all of the information (like if something is out of order when it will be fixed);  * Make sure the circulation desk is clean and uncluttered (if possible);  * Scent – people will stay 30% longer if a place smells nice;  * Implement a printed monthly newsletter.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would definitely recommend ARSL to all directors.  Even the one session that I had trouble relating to gave me a few ideas that I could apply to my own library.  That session was on rearranging the physical layout of the library presented by the director of the Perry Public Library in Ohio.  They have a staff of 17.1 and a building where my library would fit in the space that they have their books.  They also had the support of the Ohio State Library to conduct a study on usability and flow and see it through to the end.  To my knowledge we do not get that type of support from the Minnesota State Library Services or SELCO.  Would be nice if we did.

Scholarship Report: James Hill – ARSL Conference 2018

Event: Association of Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference — Springfield, IL — September 13-15, 2018

Attendee: James Hill – Library Director, Zumbrota Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

This conference was particularly relevant in presenting administrative issues at smaller libraries.  This was a chance to get more targeted presentations towards smaller libraries.  Normally, I find some presentations at larger library conferences (ALA, MLA, PLA) a bit less relevant because often topics revolve around institutions that have much higher funding streams and are often department specific instead of generalized for smaller libraries.  As a library director of a small library, I was able to get information that is more useful to what I am able to do in my current position.  It was great being able to speak to other library directors facing the same demographic and funding challenges that I do, as well as listen to presentations from library directors around the country with similar service populations to my own.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

My favorite session that I attended was titled, “How Relevant is Your Library”.  The session revolved around developing a culture of “yes” at a public library in Eagle, ID.  The library’s director presented this session and talked about the changes he made to transform his library into a community hub.  In particular, he talked of his experiences developing ways to listen to community input about what the residents wanted to happen at their library, and how he stressed to his library staff that saying “no” should be the exception and not the rule.  I took away a number of great ideas from this session and am already working on implementing several ideas presented.  I have not traditionally been a fan of non-traditional circulation materials, such as cake pans, but I really feel like this presentation made me think more about how a library of things is a good idea.  I really liked the idea behind trying not to say no to ideas brought forth by the community since it is, after all, a resource for those residents and meeting their collective needs.

What’s one (1) idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

I plan on implementing more data visualization techniques in my data reports.  One of the sessions I attended was really informative about bringing annual report data in a more appealing manner.  Every year, I present what is essentially raw data tables to my board and after attending this session I got a better idea of how to actually present the data using more informative, colorful graphs and images.