Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MLA Conference

I normally go to the New England Library Association Conference in the fall, but I've only ever gone to the Massachusetts Library Association Conference once, and that was just for one day. But this year I was asked to be on a panel which was scheduled for 8:30am (I didn't know the time when I agreed to it - ugh!) so I went for two days so I could spend the night there before my panel.

I went to sessions about various topics: mindfulness, desk-less reference, Girls Who Code, Wikipedia, digital impact on library spaces, and my panel on Reference in the Digital Age. Rather than summarize each of them, I'm just going to list some of my take-aways.

- Our minds wander 46.9% of the time (yay, it's not just me!)
- Learned basic mindfulness practice
- Just a few minutes a day of this for two weeks should result in improved mood and memory
- I should read 10% Happier by Dan Harris
- R. David Lankes is a guy to follow because people were quoting him all over the place
- All library staff should know: how to download content, issue new library cards, fix copier jams, checkout and renewal, and what's happening in the library that day
- Reduce service points to the smallest desks possible
- The Millis Public Library now only has one loan rule: everything goes out for two weeks, fines .10/day, and patrons love the simplicity
- Get every space in the library to work in 2-3 different ways depending on how it's used at different times of the day (flexible physical spaces were mentioned repeatedly)
- In 1984, 37% of computer science graduates were female; today it's 18%
- Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani has a TED talk that I should watch soon.
- 50-90% of physicians and 94% of medical students use Wikipedia
- Librarians should love Wikipedia because it's a discovery tool. You get lost in it, but you learn so much!
- The majority of Wikipedia editors are white, male, and under 40
- Got lots of info about editing Wikipedia articles, some guidelines and where to start

Ok, that's a hodgepodge of information! As usual, I came away wanting to do all of the things, but past experience tells me that is unlikely. I heard so many great ideas about library spaces and service that I think will be helpful as we start planning our library renovation, some from the session about digital impact on library spaces and some from my panel on reference in the digital age. I also really want us to start a Girls Who Code club, though I know there will be challenges. Attending a session on mindfulness was a surprise even to me, but the title of the session contained the word "focus" somewhere which is something I'm desperate to do. I learned a lot and will be implementing it right away! I really, really doubt I will start editing Wikipedia articles, but I think it's a lot of fun to think about.

All in all it was a really good conference. Not one session was a dud!

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