Scholarship Report: Tricia Wehrenberg – Power Up Conference 2019

Event: Power Up Conference — Madison, WI — March 28-29, 2019

Attendee: Tricia Wehrenberg – Youth Services Librarian, Winona Public Library

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

What was unique about this conference is that it pertained solely to youth services topics. Because of this, it gave me a chance to really focus on subjects that I’ve long been keyed into, such as streamlining and assisting vulnerable youth, that I haven’t had time to really delve deeper into or find CE opportunities about. It was also nice to bounce ideas off of other youth librarians because we all see similar situations and can give each other great advice. The topics of the sessions were very relevant to me. I had a hard time choosing which breakout sessions I wanted to attend, and I’m thankful that many that I missed have the notes & PowerPoints up on the website so I can review them later.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

My favorite session was An Empathetic Approach to Customer Service Training. This session was presented as a sort of “train the trainer” concept so we could take the information back to our staff. While I always strive to lead with empathy while serving at the customer service desk, it was great to get tips on how to train new hires in this approach as well. Teaching empathy is not an easy task, so I really appreciated the tips & tricks that were given by the instructor. She also gave us her PowerPoint presentation & notes so that we could craft our own training session for staff who were unable to attend. I’m excited to start incorporating this with our new hire that will begin in April in youth services and also with the rest of staff library-wide.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I 100% would recommend this conference. I went in expecting it to be mostly Wisconsin & Minnesota librarians, and I was pleasantly surprised to meet librarians who flew from all over the country. For example, I had presenters from Colorado, California, New Mexico, and Delaware. It was great to have such a high profile conference so close by. It had the feel of a national conference with the breadth of topics covered without having to hop a plane. I came away with a lot of great connections that are willing to chat with me cross-country while I’m working on implementing some ideas they presented. I will definitely be attending the next one in 2021, and I’ll be encouraging others to do so, as well.