Category Archives: Conference

State Library Conferences

I’m acutely aware that I’m pretty fortunate to travel around the country for my job, checking out library conferences in different states. I’ve been trying to find a resource that shares slides, websites, and information from state level conferences and couldn’t find one. So, I’m starting to pull together information for every state’s conference – you can view the list in the “State Conferences” tab in the upper right hand of the blog.

Work has been very busy and I’ve been working late a good bit, so I’ve been trying to work on it in the evenings when I can. It’s slow going, but I think worthwhile. If you have the links for a certain state conference or want to share presentations you’ve done at state conferences in 2010, I’d love to have them. Leave the links in the comments field or email me at christine dot ayar at gmail dot com.

Who are YOUR library champions?

I’m at the New Jersey Library Association annual conference this week.  Like so many other states, they are struggling with financial issues and possible tax cuts.  However, they are running a great program:

The program highlights library champions in the State of New Jersey – both famous and not so famous but still fabulous!  A great idea – check it out!

The economy and teen services, plus, Chicago food…yum

First off, I’m working on an article for YALS about teen services and the economy.  If you’re a teen or tween services librarian and would like to put YOUR two cents in, please leave a comment!  How has the economy been affecting your library services?  Are more teens coming in?  What are they coming in for?  Media?  Books?  To use the computers? To ask for work or chances to volunteer?

Now in other notes, it’s pretty clear that I haven’t blogged recently.  Let me tell you a little something – going to conference is a tough thing if you’re a librarian.  But if you’re a librarian who works as a vendor – wow – there’s a lot to do.  Massive amounts of documents, displays, prizes, and other materials have to be arranged, shipped, printed, received, noted, counted…well, you get the idea.  When I was a librarian I used to walk past the vendor thinking they had it so easy, they just had to stand there!  Oh what a haughty fool I was!

So what am I going to do in Chicago to give myself a pat on the back for all of my hard preparation?  Why eat, of course!  Here are my recommendations in Chicago –

  • Rosebud on Rush – great Italian food – white table clothes, great wait staff – go in nice clothes, but I’ve seen folks there in jeans.
  • The restaurant at the Palmer House – I have no idea what it’s called.  And I’m too lazy to look it up right now.  Bu they have lemon breakfast pancakes that are to die for.  When I was 12 my grandfather took me there and I wasted an entire order of pancakes because I insisted I wasn’t hungry.  Looking back, I am appalled at my 12 year old self for passing up the lemony, powder sugary goodness of those fantastic pancakes.  I’ve made up for it during every visit to Chi-town since.
  • A coney island.  Any coney island.  I want a chili dog with onions and mustard and a side of fries.
  • Beer and brats at Wrigley Field.  I don’t know if I’ll have time to catch a game, but something about that combo is ever better at a ball game.

Well, happy eating and conferencing.

Busy Bee

Bzzz Bzz Bzzz

Bzzz Bzz Bzzz

I can’t stand bees.  I’m highly allergic.  Just thinking about them makes my throat more than a little itchy.  ACK! But I can’t think of a better parallel to how life has been in recent days. So, yes, dear readers, I will say I have been a busy, busy bee.


Here’s a report of library type things that I haven’t been able to keep my hands out of recently:
I’m writing an article for YALS about how the recession is affecting teen services in libraries.  Anyone care to comment?
I’ve been working on the Infoquest text messaging reference pilot project, set to launch in the middle of the month.
My Emerging Leaders project might just cause me to snap, but do you know what saves me?  My very cool team and the fact that the responses we are getting are pretty fascinating.  I’ll be sure to summarize what we find when the project is done.  (We’ve been researching how rural libraries build community relations and what resources they use to improve those relations…)
And I’m preparing for ALA Annual Conference.  Dear reader, let me tell you:  Conference is a tad stressy if you’re a librarian.  When you’re a vendor, it’s just flat out stressy.  I never appreciated how much work goes into pulling together a booth and such, and I’m not even doing the lion’s share of the work (yay for great bosses).  Perhaps part of it is that I am presenting several times (all for Emerging Leaders) plus working at the booth. 
If I can say anything about Evanced it is that we love our presentations.  You show us a good presentation topic and we’ll show you a staff that’s willing to present.  I am looking forward to it all, however.  A girl needs a good adrenaline rush and my goodness – to be busy AND be in the bustling Windy City – oh how cosmopolitan it all sounds!  (Note to self, channel inner Katharine Hepburn for the week…)
In non-library related events, I’m taking a cheese making class.  A girl needs cheese, right?  Will report back on that one as well.
And in blog stats, the things that make my blog most popular, in the order of most popular to least:
  1. Amelia Earhart
  2. My semi-mockery of a prayer for Librarians
  3. Libraries and sustainable design

I can’t really make that up.  It’s true as true can be.  Maybe I just need to focus on an Amelia Earhart blog.  If my cheese post becomes most popular, then I’m really going to question my career choice. 

Have a rockin’ week my friends. 

Last time I checked, my vote counted too…

While I was at ALA Midwinter, I was at a meeting sitting between two fellow librarians.  Across the  conference table from us was a presidential candidate for PLA.

As the candidate got up to leave, he/she scanned the nametags that the three of us were wearing.  Then proceeded to hand my colleagues  business cards and say “I’m running for PLA President – please consider voting for me”.  And completely disregarded me.

Now there’s a couple things here.  One, I am not a member of PLA, but am going to be signing up shortly.  Two, he/she didn’t ask if any of us were PLA members, he/she just assumed they were and I wasn’t.  Three, by encouraging them to vote for him/her and disregarding me, he/she lost my vote.  And the votes of my peers to whom I have relayed the story with name and gender. 

I’m a librarian.  I’m a vendor.  I am active in the library community (and not because of sales but because I care) and my vote is just as valid as any other. 

Let’s not be hasty and make assumptions.

Let me bare my librarian soul…

Part of the Emerging Leaders project meetings involved the following exercise:

Pair up with someone in the room you don’t know. You each have one minute to tell your life story. First, I’d like you tell your life story from the perspective of a victim.
I’ll let you know when one minute for each of you has passed.
Now that you’ve shared, tell your life story from the perspective of being a hero.
Now tell your life story but relay it only from the perspective of the life lessons you’ve learned.

I thought it was going to be a really stupid exercise. I was really, really, really resentful that I was being forced to share my life story with someone I didn’t know at all. I did my best to share but edit gently.

Luckily, I had a really cool partner.

And you know what? I’m thinking of that experience today, and I’m not resentful. I really enjoyed it, and I really learned a lot about myself and my perspective of myself from that exercise.

It was really hard to be the victim. I kept trying to leap to the most positive things that happened, but that wasn’t really allowed. “Yeah, that sucked big time but later on something great happened!” I guess I’m a more positive person than I really thought.

Secondly, I was a bit embarassed to try and be the hero. But I couldn’t tell the story without making it funny. I think that’s true of librarians – we have a hard time making ourselves and our institutions into heroes.

And the life lessons…I hmmmed, and hawed and muttered something about learning to be patient. And now that I’ve had three or four days to think, I’ve realized how many life lessons I’ve really gained. And how I don’t appreciate or refer to those life lessons nearly enough. Wow…crazy…it’s like having an amazing personal resource center and never bothering to use it…

So, I went from resentfully baring my soul to really learning a lot. That six minute exercise is still making me think, days after the fact.

Something to ponder…

(p.s. I tried to find clipart a naked dude wearing a barrel.  No dice.  It got kinda kinky!  Yikes!)

Hello from Midwinter!

Hi, sorry for the delay my darlings.

This Midwinter thing has been fun thus far.  I have photos but am having some technical difficulties, so those will have to come later.

First things first – yes, you can tell who the librarians are.  It’s incredible. 
Secondly, ALA only contributed to this phenomenon by providing all attendees with – neon orange bags.  Oh yes.  Best thing I heard all conference “So, what?  You want us to go pick up trash off the side of the road or something?”

Denver – great town.  Really walkable and people are pretty friendly.  My only experience with the city other than conference was when I was 10 and my family and I had a layover at the Denver airport on the way to California.  I remember seeing a cowboy leaning up against a pillar – cowboy boots, hat and all.  And it was forever the only thing I associated with Denver.  Now I associate Denver with cowboys and librarians with neon orange bags.

Mostly I’ve been in Emerging Leaders events.  I am going to have to explain the full program in greater detail another time, but let’s just say it’s newer librarians who have been identified for their proven leadership or desire to lead.  We all tackle a project to help change/improve ALA or some aspect of it.  It’s been interesting.  The energy and buzz in the room is incredible.  I’ve come away with some good lessons (that I’ll also share later – I’m working on a sleep deficit, folks – two hour time change…)

Hmm, just read my post.  If you were looking for constructive info on the conference, you came to the wrong place, I guess.  But I do promise I will be more clear in later posts.  Probably. 

For my friend the Blogbrarian who wanted a fashion report – yes, yes, it’s bad outfits galore.  I have seen more than one misguided attempt by attendees to fit in with the local culture and – gulp – wear very hideous cowboy boots.  However in good news, I must say a lovely trend towards great hair styles and excellent use of jewelry to accessorize.  How else would we all detract from our sensible, ugly shoes?  Let’s hope that at Annual Chicago, YALSA saves us all.

You want a map of Denver? I gotta map of Denver…

And here is it:  It’s like five years old, but whatever, it works!  And if you are even half as directionally dysfunctional as I am, you will need every map you can get your hands on! (Love Educause – providers of the above map)

Many other great ones are available at

Extreme Makeover: Librarian Edition

I constructed this post and poll a while back, but thought to myself, no one…no one…will dig this post.  Librarians are just way too PC and they’ll think it was so dumb.  Then American Libraries comes out today and YALSA announces a fashion show.  Awesome!

So, I was talking my pal A, and (brace yourself) we have determined that there is a bit of a fashion crisis in the library world.  You know you’ve seen it and you know you’re scared.  It’s both genders and almost all of us have done the big fashion faux pas at some point.  Me included.  My oversized pea green sweater.  I love it, I will not part with it, I’m wearing it right now in fact. 

But let’s say at a library conference, for fun, a librarian put together a fashion show slash best of resources show?  “Here’s Sam in khakis and a button down shirt, with a vest to add a bit of color…and now Sam will tell you about his favorite geneaology website and some of the features on it…”

Something silly to break up the ho-hums of conference and a way to get creative in a whole new way…

A little conference reflection…

I’m in a bit of a rush today, but I wanted to jot down some of the big thoughts in my mind related to conference.

The group of librarians at MLA are clearly split: innovators and old guard.  And the two shall never see eye to eye.  The innovators are gushing about communities of practice, twitter feeds, and the use of tech in getting information to folks.  The old guard is grumbling about tenure, loud kids at the library and what they perceive as changes in the profession that will put us all out of a job.  C’mon, can’t we all just all get along?

Let’s get streamin’…a lot of the big talk at conference was about tagging, twitter, blogging, file sharing, etc.  It’s time to make a web resource center for the MLA conference that will aggregate live blogging, video streaming, twittering and photo sharing (aka flickr) so everyone can see it.  The minimal access aspect of the conference had a very 1990s feel to it.

But it’s easier to b**tch then say what went right, isn’t it?  Well, can I say that I loved the majority of the tech and advocacy programs.  Very well done.  Loved the key notes.  LOVED LOVED LOVED they layout of the conference and the wifi that didn’t require a log in – it was easy to use and consistent.  And it seemed like tech and service people were everywhere, so if you needed something, bam! there it was!

Lastly, can I just say that it was kind of a bummer that Brewster Kahle was speaking at the University of Michigan the first day of MLA conference.  That would have been a really cool webcast to have done…or if MLA had known farther in advance, what an incredible key note.  There is a disconnect in that series of events that I find odd.

Peace out, my peeps.  Have a good weekend.