Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Final Thoughts

I was going to post about the Minneapolis Central Library, but as a couple have already done that, I'll veer off in an other direction. I've been thinking a lot today about what it was that made the week so special.

I think the most valuable part of a conference for me are those moments when I end up talking to strangers, comparing notes on what they're doing and what we're doing. All of you who know me realize that I'm not at all shy, and I will talk to just about anyone. I think that is a huge strength at something like a conference. I talked to people in line at the Fed Ex store, I talked to people on the shuttle bus, I talked to people in the elevator at the hotel, at lunch, on the exhibit floor, waiting for sessions to begin, heck, I was probably talking to people in my sleep (you'll have to ask Brandy about that).

So, what is to be gained from this proclivity towards conversation? I've learned a lot! Here are some things I got from gabbing this past week:
  • a greater appreciation for the support we get from our administrators when it comes to beefing up security in our locations (and standing behind us when we uphold the rules!) This is really big because there are folks out there who get no training, aren't allowed to hire security officers, have no cameras, aren't allowed to evict anyone, etc.
  • lots of requests for me to email our code of conduct to people (probably 5-6 business cards say this!)
  • cool SWAG from vendors
  • news about free receptions
  • more indepth information about Burgeon Group, the folks who make the early literacy manipulatives that CML is looking into getting for every location
  • news from old friends about where they are and what they're doing
  • a picture of what it's like to be in a small library (like the "Director" of a small library in rural Illinois who only has 3 employees)
  • some new knitting buddies (OK, so it wasn't professional talk every waking moment!)
  • pats on the back for having some really great programs at CML (4 sessions presented by us! wow!)

Final Session - Paula Poundstone

Well, it was a great week, and PLA officially wrapped up with a performance by Paula Poundstone. She was, in short, hilarious! Christiana and I had seats very close, but my phone's camera doesn't do it justice.

She really did have my laughing most of the time, but you kinda had to be there.

Here are a few things she joked about:

  • Sorry, this conference is only for “public”, you can’t come in.
  • Why are we considering getting rid of the Dewey system? It’s always made her feel so safe! She didn’t realize there was all this secret unrest about Dewey.
  • Don’t you take a unified stand on dog-earing? I hate dog-earing!
  • When people started leaving early (just a few, really) she said “I’ve been in this business long enough to realize that it’s best if I leave first.”
  • Librarians helping people find information and truth becomes more and more important as mis-information becomes more popular.

  • Saturday afternoon Christiana and I went with some friends through the Central Library in Minneapolis, and I'll post those pictures soon. I also had the chance to see the very small branch library that my old friend, Beth Werking manages now - more on that later.

    Green Buildings

    I sat for a few minutes in a session about green building, and it wasn't very interesting. I just had to post a few things, though, so I don't forget about them.

    • What is a waterless urinal? They talked about them several times.
    • The importance of creating sustainability in our facilitities (that almost rhymes).
    • Creating a teaching garden that allows customers to learn while exploring (imagine the possiblities of a Literacy Garden - incorporating the 6 skills of early literacy into the garden design and experience!)
    • Including a staff shower to encourage staff to bike or walk to work, or work-out during lunch breaks. I've never even thought about that before.

    Career Agility

    I went to part of a session Saturday morning on building Career Agility. Here are the main points I gleaned:
    • build within yourself some self-leadership - choose positions that will bolster your strengths to get you to the position you want - be strategic
    • Adaptability - we must continue to adapt to the world, because the world isn't going to adapt to us (I think this was more for those folks who keep saying "but the library should be a very quiet, peaceful place")
    • Willingness to embrace change - I think we're all pretty good at this at CML - or at least we pretend well! LOL
    • Re-invent yourself on a regular basis - try new things, venture into new areas.
    • Build your visibility - write for publications, online book reviews, create a dynamic library-related blog . . . you're building a "brand" of yourself every day.
    • Build your portfolio - demonstrate impact and outcome
    • Make judgement calls - be able to make decisions! (GSD, baby!)
    • Take Risks - build an ability to judge which risks are worth taking, which ones will help your library move forward
    • Let go of Perfectionism - I heard this from Micheal Stephens, too - very important in taking risks and trying new things!
    • Commit to focus on solutions - 'nuff said.

    Sunday, March 30, 2008

    Random Pics

    Joe Yersavich and Dewitt Harrell watching Chris Korenowsky and Jodi Lee present. Click for more random pics including the Recruiting Booth, Staff Shots, and Jodi & Chris's presentation.

    Goodbye Minneapolis

    Before I left yesterday, I visited the central library. Lots of WOW factor! I actually went on a tour and had a phenomenal tour guide. Before I left I added CML's autograph and a hello to the teen graffiti wall! More pictures here

    A few tidbits from my Friday afternoon sessions…

    From Raising Media-wise Kids:

    Whoever tells the stories defines the culture –the presenter, David Walsh, from the National Institute on MEDIA and the FAMILY, repeated this phrase a lot. His point was that we need to look at what some of our digital habits will say about us. Something to think about…and although this presentation did not talk much about solutions or how libraries can affect the stories being told, it made me think about it. How can libraries do something about this?

    A steady diet of violent images does not lead to violent behavior, it creates a culture of disrespect. What do you think about this? He also presented many scary statistics about our kids today and how much 'screen time' they get (TV and video games). It's big: 34 hours per week for the average child, compared to only 1/2 hour of alone time with dad or 1/2 hour reading for pleasure...I’d heard some version of this before, but it is still a huge societal issue. What can libraries do about this?

    Since we did not discuss SOLUTIONS in this program, I am left feeling: "OK, what now? Let's do something!"

    From The Need To Lead

    This was a panel discussion on leadership. The panel members were all a part of the Urban Libraries Council, Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) program. The discussion focused also on leadership and how one can develop as a leader. Even though all the participants were a part of the ELI program and were leaders at the executive level, the discussion also focused on leadership in general and about different types of leadership and how one can grow as a leader.

    One participant said there are 3 key attributes in one with leadership potential: Passion, Good Judgement and Courage.

    Since this was a discussion, it is hard to summarize, especially 24 hours later. Looking at my notes right now they seem very general. The participants talked a lot about challenges they faced and how they grew from them. I'd heard some of what they said before, but it was the kind of thing where hearing it again at this particular place and time left me feeling energized!