SELCO Staff Conference Report: Reagen Thalacker – MLA 2018

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

Attendee:  Reagen Thalacker, Regional Librarian – SELCO/SELS

How does attending this event relate to your current role?

The professional development aspect of having been a part of the Conference Committee was a great way to help me build upon current skill sets in the creation of large scale continuing education events as well as work with colleagues from across all types of libraries.  The attending of the event allowed me to not to see the hard work of the Committee come to fruition but also to see and hear from various library connections around the state about what sessions they found valuable.  Attending MLA has always been a great way to reinvigorate my interest in library work as well as come away with new ideas to implement back home.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

My favorite session was entitled “Stop Supervising in Circles: Five Questions to Get Direction in Challenging Situations”.  My supervisory skills are admittedly not my strongest, having no formal training in this arena, and as such I’m always looking for ways to better this aspect of my work.  The speaker not only was an expert with 20+ years in supervisor, but the topics is also something she loves to do – so who better to gain knowledge from?  She provided great steps to walk you though how to tackle difficult situations with staff, as well as offered insights in to better approaches when you need to coach someone and what to do if that’s not working.  Her enthusiasm for the topic was definitely infectious, and I know that both myself, and a fellow SELCO colleague who was also in attendance, were definitely energized and inspired by what she said.

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 called “Meeting Users Where They Are: Teaching Information Literacy Online” which was given by two academic librarians.  We’re looking at the option of expanding our online learning engagement opportunities further and since academic librarians create these all the time for their student population, I thought I could gain some knowledge on best practices.  I was able to walk away with some great frameworks and practical pieces as to how to best set-up and deliver online educational content.  Something that’ll definitely come in handy when we have the opportunity to move forward with this aspect.