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Scholarship Report: Jill B Nysse – Information Technology Educators of Minnesota

Event: Information Technology Educators of Minnesota — Brooklyn Park, MN – October 10-12, 2019

Attendee: Jill B Nysse–Online Learning Teacher, Winona Area Public Schools


What was your favorite session you attended and why?

While there were several great sessions, my favorite was “Raising Kids in a Digital Age” presented by Jen Leggatt. We have had several sessions and a lot of information on the dangers of digital devices in the hands of young teens (loss of sleep, bullying, emotional trauma, i.e., Fear of Missing Out, etc.), but this session had very practical tips that we can share with parents. The presenter got right to the crux of the matter, saying “digital devices connect our students to the world, but also are a distraction.” How can we let our kids try new things and still keep them safe? Recent revelations from computer scientists divulge how social media gets kids hooked: autoplay, notifications, Snapchat’s Snapstreaks, randomness, and in-app purchases. It is critical to pay attention to how kids act after interaction on a device. If they retreat to their room and hide, something may have happened. Another important tip is to go to the battery usage on an iPhone and you can see what apps are being used. another important tip is don’t sign in to other sites and apps with Facebook. Look at your privacy settings. She also encouraged parents to consider parent control software for 2019. All the mobile phone carriers can give parents the ability to shut off data and also to see where their child’s phone is at a certain time. Communication (discussing what’s OK and what’s not) and creating a family contract about that are also important.

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

I really enjoy the author panels and being able to talk to authors, since I do a yearly grant from our district’s foundation for an elementary author to visit all our elementary schools. I really enjoy being able to meet and talk to the authors and find out what unique perspective they might bring to our elementary students. And yes, I did find an author I hope will be presenting to our students next Fall.

Another idea I am anxious to try is the Google Tour Creator. I have worked with Expeditions and found them really engaging for students and feel that Google Tour Creator will take that concept to the next level.

I am very grateful to SELCO/SELS for offering such terrific in-house training, as well as offering scholarships to library related workshops and conferences. It is truly a wonderful way to support professional growth and also support the profession as a whole.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would definitely recommend this conference to media specialists, technology integrationists and librarians. It is critical that we support our profession and advocate for it, and of course attending the ITEM conference and getting involved with the organization is one of the best ways to do it. However I wholeheartedly recommend this conference to any educator. The strong focus on literacy is perfect for any educator, because we should all be teaching reading and incorporating informational text analysis into content. This year’s keynote speakers, Kelly D. Holstine Why Every Heart Matters) and Sarah Park Dahlen (Diversity in Children’s Literature) both brought fresh perspectives on diversity in our schools, a topic all of us need to know more about. Several sessions featured new ways to use technology in the classroom, and the vendors also showcased technology as well as books. One of the biggest reasons I would recommend this conference to everyone is that it is an outstanding opportunity to network with other educators who are passionate not only about the education, but who are also people who want to share their expertise with others. Teaching is an isolating profession, and apart from the new knowledge and learning that you always gain from this conference, the opportunity to exchange ideas, ask for ideas and just feel good about being with so many dedicated professionals is priceless.

Scholarship Report: Susan Watts – MLA 2019

Event: MLA 2019 — Prior Lake, MN – September 19-20, 2019

Attendee: Susan Watts – Library Tech I, Lonsdale Public Library


What was your favorite session you attended and why?

Of the sessions I attended on the first day my favorite was “From Good to Amazing? Evaluating and Improving Library Programs” presented by Leah Larson and Eric Billiet from State Library Services. The room was full with many more attendees than the speakers had anticipated yet Leah and Eric retained their composure and got through their presentation with elan. At our library, we are always looking for a more effective way to analyze our programs, implementing both front-end evaluations and other tools, so that we may improve our programs, better serve our community, and realize our goals. And what library doesn’t want to do that? Leah and Eric had excellent, and useful, hand-outs including data collection, goal setting, observation tools, and a resource list of program observation tools. I left once more enthusiastic and with two simple but important tools for our small library: a co-attendee shared with me that her ‘bullet journaling’ program at the University of Minnesota has been a great success. I had been thinking of implementing this at Lonsdale and now know I will! And, the presenters told us of a straightforward way, new to me, to evaluate kids programs using post it notes.

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

My biggest takeaway was a reinforcement of the knowledge I have gained through my many years experience that people who work in libraries are creative, dedicated, and passionate. We are consistently asked to do more, serve more, often with less resources. And we do! Because we love our work and communities and we understand how important libraries are.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

Absolutely! Go mingle with your peeps! Get new ideas! Share yours! Get a much-needed injection of support and zeal!

 

Scholarship Report: Jess Lind – MLA 2019

Event: MLA 2019 — Prior Lake, MN – September 19-20, 2019

Attendee: Jess Lind – Youth Services Librarian, Austin Public Library


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

This was my first time attending any library conference and I graduated with my MLIS a little over a year ago. This conference was a way for me to find out what other libraries offer to their youth. I attended sessions on escape rooms, summer food programs, summer reading, and diversity. All of this is relevant and even if I don’t implement most of what I learned, I can take this knowledge, tweak it and make it work for my community.

I was looking forward to networking when I was told I would be going to MLA this year. My friends in the field mostly live in Wisconsin or Iowa. I wanted to meet other Youth Services Librarians in the state, and I did. I got to meet and exchange information with others that I will reach out to in the future.

I left the MLA conference with so many new resources. Aside from the people I met, the resources are probably the most valuable thing I am taking away from my sessions. I will use the information given to me and figure out how I can make it applicable to my community.
Before MLA, I had a place in my library and my community. After leaving the conference, I feel like I belong to something larger; I am a part of Minnesota’s library world now. I look forward to future MLA conferences and maybe the ALSC conference to expand my network and have more learning opportunities.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

My favorite session was Hello, Universe, Hello, Asian American Children’s… Sarah Park Dahlen was captivating and both she and Paul Lai were passionate. I am an Asian American but never really thought about how that applies to my job as a YS Librarian. My community is diverse, we have a Latinx and African American population but also many Chinese families and an increase of Karen and Kareni families in town.

The speakers informed us that we need to go past the reviews when adding books to our collection. They make a great point because reviews don’t always take into acct. who is writing the book and what knowledge they have about the people/subject they are writing about. Are they unknowingly accentuating a stereotype or exoticization? Are we going beyond cultural differences?

I like that they broke it down to 4 areas where we can engage our communities- collection dev., reader’s ad., displays, and programming. I would expand this to the broader diverse sense and not just Asian Americans. When someone asks for a middle grade book, have options that have protagonists that are strong, smart, clever, etc. reflecting many different backgrounds, cultures and physical appearances; window and mirror options for all.

Like other sessions, they provided excellent resources and articles. They stressed the importance of starting uncomfortable anti-racist conversations in your community. I left the session excited to work on applying some of the info I obtained.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would recommend this event to others. The sessions I attended were aimed at Youth Services or other librarian focused areas but I spoke with others that work Circulation, are Library Directors and are Friends of the Library. The conference has much to offer all aspects of Library Services. This was my first time attending; I arrived knowing few and left with a new network of friends that share common interests and passions as myself.

One thing that I appreciate about the conference is that you can attend sessions that aren’t always “in your line of work”. I was encouraged by my director to go to what sounded interesting and what I would find useful. I didn’t’ have to go to every single youth focused session. So, if someone is interested in expanding knowledge in an area unfamiliar to them, this conference is a good way to dip a toe in the water and get a feel for something new.

Anyone interested in what other libraries in the state are up to, there are many sessions they would find appealing. I loved hearing about events, programs and changes that are happening around my state. It is a learning experience that encourages collaboration but also gives us a chance to show our appreciation and awe to others. After attending the conference, the wheels have been turning in my head on ways to incorporate some of what I learned. I think that would be the case for any attendees to the conference.

Scholarship Report: Tara Johnson – Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference 2019

Event: Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference — Burlington, VT – September 5-7, 2019

Attendee: Tara Johnson – Director, Lanesboro Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?
The ARSL mission statement promises: “The Association for Rural & Small Libraries provides resources and support that empower those in small and rural libraries to deliver excellent service for their communities.” Every session that I attended helped me to aspire to “do more better.”

What was your favorite session you attended and why?
“The E’s of Libraries demonstrating your library’s value.” The E’s are Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, and Engagement for Everyone, Everywhere! This session helped me create a story to share when I advocate for libraries. Remember, you are always the ambassador for your library even when you are off duty!

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?
Libraries are an Essential Service!

What is one idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?
“Let’s GLOW!” a glow-in-the-dark story time. This will be fun with the preschool group and switched up for “tweens” and teens.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?
Absolutely, library directors and library staff need encouragement and inspiration to meet the challenges and the changing needs of their jobs. The ARSL conference offers great sessions with new apps, ideas and tools, plus time with colleagues who remind us that we are not alone and that we can do this!

Scholarship Report: Ingvild Herfindahl – Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference 2019

Event: Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference — Burlington, VT – September 5-7, 2019

Attendee: Ingvild Herfindahl – Director, Dodge Center Public Library


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

ARSL is a fantastic conference. All the other librarians are from small and rural libraries, so ideas presented are able to be used at my library without having to worry about scaling down for time, money, space, and staffing. In addition to the sessions, ARSL gives me the ability to network with directors of other small libraries around the country and bring their ideas back to better my own library and community.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

There were many sessions that were very interesting and useful, but the session “Open Your Library Space to Discovery and Imagination” is immediately applicable to what I am doing at my library. They discussed different ways to rework your library space for more hands-on learning and dramatic play, all done with a small amount of space and a limited budget.

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

There are thousands of other librarians all around the country dealing with similar situations in their own libraries. Many of them have come up with creative ideas for programs or problems that we all face.

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

There are many ideas I plan to implement, but at the top of my list are some of the free tools that I learned about in the “Innovation on a Shoestring” session. These include online tools for photo sourcing, graphic design, meeting room management, surveys, and project management.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would recommend ARSL to every director in a small or rural library. It is energizing being with others who can relate to your issues and situations. And since the sessions are able to be implemented in your own library without much translation, it gives you a whole list of ideas that you can implement as soon as you get home.

Scholarship Report: Heather Acerro – American Library Association Annual Conference 2019

Event: American Library Association Annual Conference — Washington, D.C. — June 21-25, 2019

Attendee: Heather Acerro – Head of Youth Services, Rochester Public Library


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

As the Head of Youth Services at Rochester Public Library, attending was valuable to my role as an administrator and leader. I made connections with new and familiar vendors, networked with colleagues to build stronger relationships and share resources, and attended informative sessions that will enable Youth Services to improve programs and services. For example, “Real Talk: a framework for youth-led dialogues” provided information that will help us as we work to make connections with local teens. Furthermore, since RPL is currently appraising a variety of food-related services, the session “Food for Thought: Nourishing Mind and Body at Public Libraries” contained several ideas that will move our services forward.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

“How to Avoid Disability Faux-Pas” was my favorite session as it contained a wealth of information. Fifteen panelists spoke about their experiences as disabled customers and library staff members and provided guidance for updating our language, services, and procedures to be more accessible. Panelists spoke on terminology, hearing loss, visual disabilities, learning disabilities, invisible disabilities (mental health and chronic illness), and physical disabilities. Suggestions included providing staff with disability awareness training, removing ableism from marketing, and being aware of comments that are actually micro-aggressions (calling attention to someone and making them feel “other”).

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

One suggestion from How to Avoid Disability Faux-Pas was to use a microphone as a standard tool in library programs. I am planning to work with Youth Services programmers to make this change for all of our storytimes and auditorium events.

Scholarship Report: Samantha TerBeest – Lake Superior Libraries Symposium 2019

Event: Lake Superior Libraries Symposium — Duluth, MN — June 6-7, 2019

Attendee: Samantha TerBeest – Adult Services Librarian, Winona Public Library


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

The theme of the conference was “Sea Changes in Libraries” and was focused on the ever changing role of libraries. This is very fitting for my role as the Adult Services Librarian as the technology I work with is ever changing and the generations and people I work with is ever changing.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

My favorite session was called “Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Vital Role All Libraries Play in Developing Empathy.” In this session, the presenter talked about the difference between sympathy and empathy. Talked about how empathy is a learned behavior especially from reading. Had us work in groups to discuss books that show empathy and identified ways that a library can be empathetic to its patrons.

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

I took away a lot of different programming ideas but I also took away a staff in service training that I think would be really beneficial in being inviting to all patrons of all types and backgrounds. I, also, have ideas, programs, and trainings for a the Dementia Friendly Community Committee that I am on and how we can better help our community. Really, I didn’t have one big takeaway from the event. I had several.

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

I already booked a program date for a library after hours event I learned about called Humans vs. Zombies. I am planning on doing several passive programs in May for Mental Health Awareness month. One of them is called Stress ReDUCKtion and involves hiding rubber duckies around the library. I even reached out to a presenter to see if I could use his presentation for staff training.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

Yes! The sessions were excellent. When you go, you meet librarians from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario. The conference is, also, affordable and only one day.

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.

Scholarship Report: Heather Acerro – ALA Midwinter Meeting

Event:  American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting — Seattle, WA — January 25-29, 2019

Attendee: Heather Acerro – Head of Youth Services, Rochester Public Library


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

My biggest takeaways from attending ALA Midwinter and participating on the 2019 Randolph Caldecott Committee are the skills and colleagues that I gained through this experience.  In terms of the Caldecott Committee–which involved preparing for meetings, reviewing picture books throughout the year, writing and presenting about picture book art, and participating at in-person meetings at midwinter–my skills in evaluating and discussing art and picture books have increased considerably. I developed a unique methodology based on the preparation materials and the discussions with colleagues.  During the past two years, I have had the opportunity to share my collection selection and evaluation methods with Rochester Community & Technical College literature classes.  Now, after my attendance at ALA Midwinter meetings, I feel that I have much more to share with literature students. I have also gained a wonderful group of fourteen peers who passion for and ideas around youth services work and literature will continue to benefit me and Rochester Public Library for years to come.

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

Each year ALA hosts an “online pajama party” to encourage children to watch the live webcast of the Youth Media Awards press conference.  After attending the Youth Media Awards Press Conference, meeting with colleagues in the exhibit hall, and discussing the activities around this big event, I would like to work with area teachers to host Mock Award programs throughout the year and then celebrate by participating in the pajama party. (http://www.ilovelibraries.org/pjparty)

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would highly recommend participating on an award or booklist committee and attending ALA Midwinter for in-person book discussions.  It is valuable to not only learn book evaluation skills, but also how to respectfully and productively have discussions with colleagues.  These discussion skills do not only apply to books, but can be used for discussing any topic that requires careful listening, thoughtfulness, and clear articulation.

Scholarship Report: Diane Yliniemi – ITEM Conference 2018

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

Attendee:  Diane Yliniemi – Library Media Specialist, Sunset Terrace Elementary School – Rochester


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

Currently, I am a library media specialist for an elementary school in Rochester, MN.  The ITEM conference is the state professional conference for library media specialists, technology coordinators and specialists, technology integrationists, and anyone else interested in application of information and technology to learning.  The people, speakers, information, and sessions are focused on all of the topics and information I can use in my job.  I am also able to be informed on new trends and information and relay this back to my district and the other media specialists I work with.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

I love meeting all of the authors from Minnesota who did several sessions at the conference.  It is always so interesting to find out the background of our authors and illustrators of the books we purchase in our schools.  I am always so impressed by the talent in Minnesota.  I was able to talk to several of the authors afterwards and have them autograph some of the books I was purchasing for my school.  I read for the Maud Hart Lovelace committee here in Rochester and we are always looking for books written by Minnesota authors.

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

I went to a session on Native American Literature sponsored by the MN Department of Education.  The media specialists of Rochester are currently working on updating our collections.  It was great to see the list of books that have been recommended for educators.  Last week, we had a staff development day in Rochester and the media specialists were pleased to see this bibliography that I brought back.  We plan on ordering books from this list as well as doing book studies on some of the new books we are purchasing.  I have also picked out two of the books that I will be using in my classes next week.  I am encouraging some of our team to present at ITEM next year when we will have a Thanksgiving curriculum written which has been vetted by our Native American liaison and our Rochester parent group and focuses on historical accuracy.