Wednesday, March 19, 2014

#pla2014: Recap and Takeaways

The 2014 PLA Conference in Indianapolis was a great one. I got to attend some outstanding sessions by dynamic librarians whose words are certainly feeding my professional development; I broke bread with a number of excellent library land friends and colleagues, some of whom I met IRL for the first time in Indy; and my presentations went off quite well. As I have come to do after conferences, I am sharing a recap and some of my greatest takeaways here on the blog in hopes that you might enjoy some free PD!

First, the recap.

I presented during three sessions in Indy. The first session was a SparkTalk, an extremely adrenaline-filled 5-minute-limit presentation with slides to a truly high-energy audience. I talked about tapping in-house expertise to provide more meaningful, more empowering, and less expensive trainings. Slide deck (possibly my favorite slide deck I've ever created) below:

On Saturday morning of PLA, Brooke Rasche and I co-facilitated a Guerrilla Storytime. So many storytime providers participated in the session, and the result was fantastic skills sharing. I put together a full recap for the Storytime Underground.

And last but not least, I filled in for Marge Loch-Wouters on a session about advocating for youth services at the library, community, state, and national levels. I wrapped up the session by sharing some tips for using social media as a tool to champion the work happening in youth services. Check out the Pinterest board that co-presenter Rhonda Puntney Gould and I put together to gather advocacy resources.

The Takeaways

These are the biggest, most services-transforming ideas I brought home with me from PLA. I truly hope you'll read the ideas, think about them, and start a conversation about them (preferably with me, but really, with anyone!). These are the ideas I want to think more about so that I can apply them to the work that I do in my library and career.

"Always assume there are queers in the room." -Joel Nichols
     And that's why every storytime provider, every youth services librarian should mindfully make sure that their programs and readers' advisory suggestions aren't just propagating heterosexism. Even when you take away the books and programs that purport to appeal directly to boys OR girls (a restrictive binary in and of itself, and off-putting to many), there is a lot of background heterosexism in books. We owe it to the children and families we serve to not exclude anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable or unrepresented, even unintentionally. I will most certainly be thinking about this topic much, much more, with respect to my library's programs and services and also to the profession as a whole. Suffice it to say, more on this later. Because it's big, and it's important.

"You were hired for your brain--feed it!" -Megan Emery
     In her most excellent, The Outsiders-themed SparkTalk, Megan talked about inevitable librarian burnout and ways to stay gold. Namely, she advises refreshing and restarting on a day-to-day basis. That, and doing the professional development you want to do and not just putting it to the side "for later." Read those articles. Check those blogs. Have that convo on Twitter. Then, when you go work with customers, you'll be in a much more refreshed, informed mindset.

"You're not an asshole. You're saying things other people are thinking, too." -Julie Jurgens
     I most sincerely hope that Julie will convert her SparkTalk into a blog post, as her viewpoint and message are much needed in library land today. Namely, that speaking out about the unbalanced, alarmist, and privileged attitudes coming from the librarians with public soapboxes can most definitely be commented upon and criticized--and should be, if we want to learn from it and change the professional culture for the better.

"Power pose before your next high-stakes interaction." -Amy Cuddy
     Cuddy's TED Talk is one of my favorites of all time, and her live presentation explored the same concept: that intentional, physical posturing can cause beneficial physiological adjustments that allow us to perform better in difficult and stressful situations. Which can be every single day for librarians. I highly recommend taking some time to watch the TED Talk:


What were your biggest takeaways from PLA? Let's chat!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again for stepping in for me and being awesome. And I hope Julie blogs too for all our sakes. FInally Ann Cuddy's TED talk really resonated with me...and I realized that part of my confidence is that I have had a Wonder Woman's stance for years. Living proof. Ha!


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