Friday, May 8, 2009


I attended one day of the Massachusetts Library Association Conference, my first time at this particular conference. The three sessions I attended were, I'm happy to report, all informative and helpful.

Booktalking 10 Ways: How to Use books to Enliven and Extend the Library Program
Although I don't do booktalks, I have a strong interest in readers' advisory, so I attended this session hoping to get some ideas. Although the equipment wasn't set up until about 20 minutes into the session (!) the presenter was very good, organized, and creative. She gave us a sampling of booktalks (and I added some things to my "to read" list), and then talked about other ways to promote books through displays, blogging, twitter, wikis, podcasts and all the cool technologies that kids use these days (this was a youth services focused presentation.) I always love getting more ideas about how to promote books. Yay, books! A more detailed summary of her presentation is here.

Manage Up!
This was the best and most useful program I attended. The presenter was lively and dynamic (which helps SO much!) and we dealt with real-life situations. The program was all about how to get people above you to listen to and implement your ideas. She talked about being aware of your boss's situation, pressures, and favorite issues that they are excited about. Then she spoke about being very aware of the ramifications of your idea, and putting it all together to form a strategy of how, where, and when to present your idea. We broke into groups who each had an idea we wanted implemented, and were given slips of paper listing various pieces of information about our boss and we had to come up with a scenario about how we would try to convince them of our idea. Really good exercise! Here is a more detailed write-up of this session.

How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work

The two librarians who presented this workshop met at a leadership symposium, similar to the one I'll be attending in July (which I don't think I've blogged about yet, but will) so I think this may be a taste of things to come. The ideas explored here were about looking at what is behind our complaints and trying to turn it into something positive and constructive. One of the handouts was a Communication Toolbox where we each chose a complaint and then went through a worksheet, breaking it down and looking at what is behind it, testing assumptions, etc. I'm really interested in these types of workshops, but my problems never seem to fit in the little boxes. I stayed after the session and talked to the presenters a bit more and they helped explain things a little further and pointed me to some more resources. Included in their handout was a bibliography of further reading, which I will most likely check out. Notes on this session are here.

Session I wish I had attended: Black Belt Librarians. Attendee Clayton Cheever blogged this session and it's worth reading, so check it out.

I also stuck around to watch the Massachusetts Book Cart Drill Team State Championships, which was a hilarious and enjoyable way to end the day. The event was MC'd by children's author Mo Willams, who is also very hilarious and enjoyable. There were only 3 libraries that entered the competition, but they were each very creative and talented. This event alone was worth the price of admission!

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