That was the theme of the 2012 Kansas Library Association Conference in Wichita, which took place last Wednesday through Friday. The annual convention is touted as the state’s premier opportunity for librarians to gather, learn, and network, then “return to your library recharged and energized.”
I hope you will indulge me while I take today’s column to walk you through a few of the highlights from Day 1 for me at this year’s convention.
7:12 a.m.:Car loaded, breakfast eaten, car gassed up and audiobook cued up. Guess I’m ready to go.
I’m listening to “The Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor. A Young Adult book that I still haven’t quite figured out but is a little paranormal, a little science fiction, and some fantasy. A long trip will be great for seeing how this thing turns out.
9:25 a.m.: Conference registration complete. Unfortunately, I chose to enter at the completely opposite of the end of the convention center. I’m sure I’ve already gotten a mile of walking in for the day. The trek did, however, allow me to see several friends and colleagues along the way.
9:33 a.m.: Putting the convention badge around my neck is an action that always instantly gets me excited for the upcoming days.
This year’s theme “I Geek Kansas Libraries” is derived from the national awareness campaign sponsored by OCLC, a nonprofit library cooperative, and by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The campaign is dedicated to spreading the word about the vital role of public libraries and raising awareness about the funding issues many public libraries face. The State Library of Kansas has co-sponsored the initiative since December 2010.
9:36 a.m.: Stopped by the Gift Basket Raffle table on my way and drop a few bucks to support Kansas Library Association Educational Foundation, and take a stab at possibly winning some good loot (I really would enjoy that relaxation-themed basket!).
10:08 a.m.: First session of the day has begun. Listening to the very in-depth introduction of Cory Doctorow. This guy is smart, accomplished, and busy!
Doctorow is the author of the best-selling YA book “Little Brother.” His biography says he considers himself a science fiction author, activist, journalist, and blogger (he is the co-editor of boingboing.net). He is known for speaking out about copyright, technology issues, and other hot-button topics relating to information sharing.
10:22 a.m.: Cory says when writing, finishing in the middle of a sentence gives you a starting point for the next day. All authors have their own methodology and it is always interesting to hear how a writer works.
10:42 a.m.: Realized Cory is wearing some pretty quirky black and white striped slacks. A little whim that makes me appreciate him just a little more.
11:35 a.m.: A panel of authors (including Doctorow) tout the importance of libraries in the art of “hand-selling” a book. It is reassuring to hear author appreciation for librarians’ efforts to get books into the hands of those who may not otherwise access them.
12:52 p.m.: Finished eating at Ty’s Diner just west of downtown with some co-workers. Great burger and fresh-cut fries. I recommend it if you like a little bit of a dive, hometown, old-school burger joint.
1:27 p.m.: Networking with other Young Adult/Teen Services Librarians from across the state at the Young Adult Roundtable Meeting. It is always reassuring to know there are others out there trying to accomplish the same things as you.
2:14 p.m.: Hearing how Pittsburg Public Library reorganized their non-fiction into categories based on subject. It’s such an interesting concept. Not without it’s ups and downs though. Listening to the presenter, PPL’s Director, is fun. She’s really energetic and inspiring.
3:18 p.m.: I’m getting all sorts of great ideas of new and fun ways to approach reader’s advisory for teens. Look out Manhattan middle school kids - this year’s pre-summer visits are going to be different and fun!
3:35 p.m.: “Life is too short to read books you don’t like.” One of my favorite rules of thumb regarding books.
4:41 p.m.: In the past half an hour I’ve been mistaken for a hotel manager and been called ‘young miss’. I’m not sure which one I was more flattered by - looking like I could be in charge or being thought of as young by someone around my same age. A nice change from all of the teens who think I’m “old”.
5:02 p.m.: Trying not to spill my popcorn all over the table as I munch and type. Whoever decided popcorn and lemonade would make a good pre-supper snack is brilliant! Now, if we could just pull that huge container with the cheesy popcorn over to our table without anybody noticing…
7:15 p.m.: Pull into the hotel room for the night. Kick off shoes, dump bags, and hook up the laptop to check email and Facebook. Then get down to work - have to make sure I’m ready for both of my presentation sessions tomorrow.
10:28 p.m.: Done with a last run-through for tomorrow’s presentations. It’s not the actual presenting I worry about, it is wanting to make sure the audience is engaged and entertained and that the presentation is the right length. It’s the little things that make or break presentations like this. If all else fails - the candy I’m providing should smooth over the rough parts.
11:18 p.m.: Put the finishing touches on this column. Now it is time for bed. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings and find lots of good ideas to bring back to do my part in making Manhattan Public Library an even better place.
Thanks for joining me in my day at KLA.