Tuesday, November 01, 2011

MLA 2011 Report

Wednesday, October 26
9:00am - Professional Pursuits: Posting, Publishing, and Presenting
This is the first or two programs that Mary Kelly and I presented together.  This was a new program for us, but it went over really well!  It was about how to get started in blogging, publishing, and presenting at library conferences.  There were more public librarians in the audience than I had expected, which was nice.  We got a lot of great feedback afterward.

10:15am - Librarian in Black, Sarah Houghton
This was the keynote presentation, and it was great!  I follow Sarah's blog.  She's direct, honest, and funny.  She spoke about the future of libraries.

1:15pm - Working with Young Professionals, presented by Kathryn Bergeron
This is probably my favorite presentation of the conference.  Kathryn talked about how to serve young professionals - the Millennial generation of 20 & 30-somethings.  We have lots of programs for babies, children, teens, and seniors, but not a lot for this age group.  My favorite programming suggestion came from an audience member: Show a movie and encourage the audience to heckle, like on Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Our library has a book club that meets in a local brewery, which is well-attended by young professionals. Kathryn also suggested collection development techniques and outreach to this demographic.

3:00pm - Employee Orientation: Are We Setting New Employees Up to Sink or Swim of Jump Ship? Presented by Terry New, HR Manager, Kalamazoo Public Library; Jennifer Cornell, Assistant to
the Director, Kalamazoo Public Library
Handouts are not available online for this presentation.  This was a good presentation for most attendees.  I'm going to pat myself on the back, though, for the training program I have created for new employees in my department.  I've got a very detailed checklist and my training schedule lasts about six weeks total.  The way our reference services staff (ie. librarians, interns, and reference assistants) are trained here is detailed, carefully scheduled, and results in a more well-rounded staff member.  I think some of the people in the audience, based on their questions and reactions throughout the program, just say, "Hi, here's your desk. Have a great day!" and leave their new employees to figure it out.  The information presented in this session would have been very helpful for them.  Honestly, I didn't get a whole lot of new ideas out of this program, but I did walk away feeling like I'm on the right track with my own training program.

4:15pm - I really wanted to see Cathy Russ, the director of the Troy Public Library, present "If It Can Happen in Troy," but I got an opportunity to tour the Kalamazoo Public Library's Central library (their main downtown branch).  Kevin King, who is in charge of Adult Programs and Circulation, toured several librarians around that beautiful facility.  We especially liked their children's storytime room, which is shaped like a castle and has a throne for the story reader.  So cute!  There is a lot of great artwork around the building and places for people to work with library materials, computers, or their own laptops.

Thursday, October 27
9:00am - Business Reference: Common Sense Strategies for Uncommonly Challenging Questions, presented by Celia Ross, Associate Librarian, Kresge Business Administration Library, University of Michigan
Handouts are not available online for this presentation.
The presenter gave techniques and suggested free resources for helping people with difficult business-related questions.  I really enjoy this kind of reference, whether the topic is business or something else.  Trying to figure out who has the information that the patron wants, and then finding THEM is such a great strategy!  There were lots of government agencies and other free online sources presented, but ultimately I have to admit that I'm very happy that my library has access to the ReferenceUSA database.  So many of the examples the presenter was giving would have been much easier questions to answer with access to ReferenceUSA.  I do appreciate that the program was geared to libraries that don't have fancy paid-databases, though.  I also like that she referenced several MeL databases, reminding people that we ALL have access to them.

10:15 - Non-Fiction Readers Advisory for Everyone
This was the second program presented by Mary Kelly and I.  I'll be honest - it's not my favorite one.  I like the topic, but I don't get as excited about it as I do with some of the other programs we do.  We had a large audience with people standing in the back, I think we entertained them, and I know that they went away with some new ideas for titles and techniques in non-fiction reader advisory.

We headed home after our 10:15 session on Thursday. (I only paid for one day - Wednesday.  Technically, I crashed the 9:00 session on Thursday.  I guess it made up for the 4:00 session I missed on Wednesday!)

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