I attended the Minnesota Library Association Conference in Rochester, MN, on Oct. 5-6. I was impressed with the variety of sessions that were available for us to attend. While taking notes at the sessions, I starred things that I especially wanted to remember. I will share some of the ideas and suggestions that were important to me.
One of my favorite sessions was Small Libraries as a Makerspace. This was all about the Victoria Library in Victoria, MN, which was built as a technology library or a giant maker space! Their goals were to merge technology and the library, to make connections and for people to have fun while learning. They have a separate technology desk that is staffed for patrons with technology questions. They also have moveable furniture that can be rearranged to suit their needs. They offer a lot of programming and stessed the idea to use all your staff and their strengths. Some staff members might be good at technology while others could be good at music or art. They can all share their talents. This is an idea that all libraries can incorporate.
Another favorite session was Engaging Community through Cultural Arts Experiences. It is a company called Compas which has 50 artists and performers who go to schools and libraries for performances and workshops. These artists and performers can have a positive impact on community building. We were able to hear from one artist, Shakun Maheshwari, who taught us the art of rice flour painting, which is a folk art done in her country. We even got to try a modern version by making a design with glue and colored sand. This is a craft I feel we could share with all ages at our library. Hopefully, we can bring some of these artists to our library some day.
Blinded Me with Science! STEAM based Programs for Toddlers and Preschoolers was a session that gave us many practical ideas for presenting STEAM programs in our libraries. Her sessions at her library have included Pint-Sized Science, Emerging Engineers, Early Explorers, and Maker Mornings. She stressed that we should just give general directions and let the children explore! We even got to make a craft stick catapult and a wrecking ball! Many ideas that I can adapt to our library!
Thanks SAMMIE for the opportunity to learn, and to take away many ideas, from the M.L.A. Conference!