Scholarship Report: Beth Anderson – Public Library Association Conference

Event: Public Library Association Conference

Attendee: Beth Anderson – Director, Preston Public Library

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

Being a library director at a small library I’m involved in all aspects of the library. I looked for sessions that related to our library. The exhibits helped me find new products.


What was your favorite session you attended and why?

It is really hard to pick a favorite session. There were a few session that were really good. The one on dementia gave many ideas for hosting programs at the library and going to senior facilities. The other one I really liked was called Bringing Technology & Arts to Senior Adults. We do have an aging population and I would really like to find ways to engage them in various activities. This session talked about STEAM, Arts and Technology for Seniors. All these activities help to increase socialization. Virtual reality was found to bring memory recall!


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

The PLA conference this year was all about diversity and inclusion. It was about helping people access the information and resources they need. It emphasized the acknowledgement of experiences different from your own, and showing respect to those different from you. In the various sessions and interactions, there was always an element of openness and acceptance, even down to the books in the publishers’ booths. I have always felt a bit of pride working for the library because aside from the emergency services, it’s a place for everyone, no exceptions. It was nice to be reminded of the privilege we have of being a part of that type of service to our communities. The conference this year was an inspiring reminder of that. It feels good to return home with new energy and excitement for the job.


What is one idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

Only one idea!! There is so much I hope to implement, but i know that realistically I need to focus on only a couple right now. For our library I think going to one or both of the assisted living homes may be best but I do plan on talking to them also to see if it would be feasible for them to bring the residents in their van to the library. Whatever we do I would like to partner with those places to provide them with additional activities.


Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would definitely recommend this conference. There is so much to learn, so many new ideas.