Holly Hibner and I just returned from Kalamazoo, Michigan after attending the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference. Highlights included an opening address from Sarah Houghton, the Librarian in Black. and the closing address was by Jessamyn West from Librarian.net. I urge you to visit the web links for some cool information and inspiring words.
Programming is one of my weaker skills. Coming up with a cool idea regardless of the target group is a frustration that dogs me constantly. I was so pleased to attend Kathryn Bergeron's wonderful program on reaching out to Young Professionals. Kathryn is the Systems Librarian at Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, MI and has successfully implemented some programs and collections specifically targeting this elusive demographic. Without me trying to duplicate her work here, go to her website and click on her presentation notes.
Another highlight of my conference experience was a tour of the Kalamazoo Public Library. The beautiful interior was inspiring and I also appreciated a look behind the scenes. Librarians, if you can't make it to conferences, one of the best things you can do to keep you fresh, is tour other libraries. Ideas, displays and chatting with staff can be an easy alternative to a conference.
I also reconnected with many librarians I hadn't talked to in a long while. It was great to catch up. I find it refreshing to nerd out and talk to other librarians that are just as excited about the profession.(Reminder: you don't always need a conference to make this happen either) When you are struggling with budgets, boards, and direction in your career, a good chat with fellow librarians who have also "been there and done that" can help you get back on track to success.
Although I still have "issues" with conferences now and then (spotty wi-fi service, long lines at a bathroom, course descriptions that have nothing to do with the presentation) I am always able to find someone who will share ideas and talk about library service. So count me in for next year in Dearborn.