Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Liz Goes to ILA

Fall is apparently the season for state library association conferences!  Lots of people I know have been going to theirs lately.  A few weeks ago, my boss and I headed to ILA, which was held at the Mariott in Coralville, Iowa.  For those of you who don't know, Coralville is right outside Iowa City.  Today's post will not only serve as a summary of the event, but prove that I am bad about remembering to take photos at conferences.  We both decided to skip the pre-conference activities on Wednesday.  The conference was already going to be taking me out of the office for two days, and I missed one of my regular programs because of it.

While not available at the conference, nor something I wore at the conference, this t-shirt was a gift from my Uncle Mark last Christmas.  I thought we needed to work the state of Iowa in here somehow.

Of course, Thursday started with an opening session.  There was talk of fundraisers and upcoming officer elections, plus a brief tribute to the retiring state librarian.  A speaker also gave a talk called Your Congress In Action.  A lot of emphasis was placed on what a big difference talking to Congress can make for your libraries and communities.  The talk ended a note that implied that as our country becomes less educated, we will turn into a developing country. 

My first session of the day was targeted at Youth Services Librarians and was called Marketing Teen and Tween Programs and Services.  Three panelists led this session: a teen librarian in an urban, low income community, a youth librarian from a wealthy suburb of Des Moines, and a youth librarian who works in a small town.  This session was an overview of how to market programs for youth--the panelists talk about what they've done that has and hasn't worked.  What I really enjoyed about this session was the fact that each presenting librarian brought paper samples of their effective samples, so we could take them home and look into doing something similar ourselves.  My director and I collaborate on teen programming, so I grabbed a few things to show him.

I did not attend the official ILA lunch.  Instead, I wandered outside with the intention of driving somewhere.  While in the lobby, I was talking to a university reference librarian about parking options, because I hated the fact that the hotel was making us pay to park in their garage.  I wound up going to lunch with this librarian and several of her friends.

My after lunch session was geared towards storytellers and was called "Coming to Our Senses: Imagination, Reciprocity, and Shifting Bullyism."  This session was an important reminder about how storytime lets us feel empathy, which has its place when you work with the public.  We did exercises where we were split into pairs, told stories about places we loved to to our partner, and they'd tell our story back to us.  I actually feel that this session could have taken up two blocks of time and served its purpose better.

This book is one of the nominees for the award.  I love Jan Thomas!

I followed this up by attending a session about the New Bridge to Reading Picture Book Award.  This is a new award in Iowa that's designed to showcase books that make great read alouds.  A committee of librarians, teachers, and other early literacy leaders help nominate books, then kids as young as preschool and as old as fifth grade (I think) can vote on the award.  After talking about the award and answering questions, the presenters talked about some of the books that had been nominated.  This gave me some great ideas about books to purchase for my collection.  A book can still be storytime worthy, even if it doesn't win any awards or get lots of starred reviews.

I stopped by the Youth Services Subdivision Meeting which was very short.  There weren't a lot of big items on the agenda.  After the meeting two librarian friends and I decided to roam the exhibit hall and check out the alleged social that was happening.  We deemed the beverages available too expensive, but we did hang around the exhibit hall around six because a giant stuffed panda was being raffled off.  Sadly, the winner of the panda did not run up to receive it shrieking with enthusiasm, which I totally would have done.  My friends and I decided to have a drink while waiting for one friend's husband, at which point we all decided to stay at the hotel and eat, which was pretty good.

We began Friday afternoon with another opening session and a speech Healthiest State Initiative, which focused on how people are better off in life if they eat healthier and exercise more.  A lot of the information presented felt like stuff I kind of already knew.


The next session I went to was one of my favorites of the whole conference, namely Yoga for Storytime.  This session was led by a yoga instructor who showed us how we could use yoga poses to tell stories such as "Goldilocks and the Three Bears, "or how it could be incorporated into a picture book such as Duck On A Bike.  A lot of yoga poses are named after animals, which makes it easy to incorporate them into storytime.  The instructor recommended the book Storytime Yoga, which I've purcahsed for my collection.

Friday was only a half day, some my final program was Older Teens and Young Adult Programming.  This session focused on programming for people who are in their twenties and thirties.  The presenters were from a town of 26,000 and all of their ideas were awesome.  I'm not sure if their tips would work in my much smaller library, but ti's great to have their ideas for future reference.  Also, after their presentation, Samantha Helmick was kind enough to talk to me about her experience developing a video game collection at her library.  It's something my boss and I have discussed, but don't know how to tackle.

After that, that was it.  I ran errands in Iowa City for the rest of the day, which included a trip to the awesome independent bookstore Prairie Lights.  ILA was an awesome opportunity to network with other librarians and learn about things I could possibly do at my library.

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