Monday, October 26, 2009

NELA Conference

I’ve posted very little library content lately, mostly because I don’t have a job and there is so much bad news for libraries recently that everything I can think of is either sad or uninteresting. But I have actual interesting and positive things to report this week. Hooray!

Last week I attended New England Library Association Conference – I’ve gone a number of times, and it has always been inspiring, motivating, interesting, and fun. Though there were considerably fewer people in attendence this year, there were still some great programs to choose from.

It’s always difficult to decide which sessions to attend, and more so right now when I’m unemployed. Everything seems equally relevant and irrelevant. But here are some of the highlights:

- Two good customer service sessions. The first one was about the FISH! Philosophy, as employed by Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market. The second was Reinventing the Customer-Centered Library. Both were very inspiring and served as reminders of things I have learned about in past workshops; but customer service always bears repeating.

- Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book, presented by Anita Silvey, from whom I took a class in library school. She talked about a book she wrote about women in the Civil War, which sounds fascinating, and also about her latest book in which various leaders in politics, business, in other areas wrote about the children’s book that changed their lives. I’m inspired to re-read the Little House books now, as soon as I can get to the library.

- Creating a Local History. I almost didn’t go to this one because the combination of 8:30am and the words “local history” do tend to make my eyes glaze over. But then I realized that it was about some librarians who wrote and published a local history of Nashua, NH. Writing and publishing are very interesting, and I really enjoyed this session.

- Author Elinor Lipman talked about her writing process and how her novels take shape. I always enjoy hearing authors talk about their work and I’m rather fascinated by how books get from ideas to actual printed matter with pretty covers. I haven’t read any of her books, but I want to after hearing her talk about them!

Of course there was lots more packed into those 3 days. Among other things, I got to meet a fellow Raveler (I love when worlds collide!), reconnected with some former co-workers, and ate at a fantastic Mexican restaurant in Hartford called Agave (not to be confused with the fantastic Mexican restaurant in Newburyport, MA also called Agave.) And by the way, the conference food was MUCH better this year than last year!

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