Thank you so much for providing funding to attend the Minnesota Library Association Conference in Rochester October 5 and 6, 2017. Below are the sessions I attended that resonated with me and the work we are currently doing at the Marshall Lyon County Library.
Minnesota Public Library Structures – Simplified
While I already knew much of what was presented at this session, it was good to have some of it confirmed, as I had picked most of it up through my own research and knowledge about public library funding in general. There was a brief discussion about equalization and the difficulty it has presented lately (most of the money is currently being funneled into the Cities, not out to the more rural parts of the state) and I was able to have a few of my legal questions answered.
Transforming Summer Reading
This was an excellent and useful session to attend, as we are in the midst of changing our summer reading program in order to help more kids finish, as well as get more to sign up. Two of the major components of the session were to be able to track the correct outputs (numbers) and outcomes (did it make a difference in the reading life of a child), as well as the sometimes subtle but fundamental shift from a summer “reading” program to a summer “learning” program. The presenters from Dakota County gave us lots of examples that can be applied immediately, even to a library and county that is significantly smaller.
Using Storytelling to Uplift Immigrant Voices
Presented by a professor who started the Green Card Voices (GCV) Project in Minneapolis, along with two former immigrant high school students, this focused on collecting and telling stories of immigrants and refugees as a way to integrate (not assimilate) them into the larger community. It not only lets them see that their life experiences (even if only a teenager) are important to tell and share, it also lets “native” community members hear some of what they experienced in their home countries and what it’s like living here being so notably “different.” This is one of the two sessions that will help MLCL refine what our role could be in building a bridge between the two segments, as well as what we can launch as part of our strategic plan in welcoming newcomers.
100 Years/100 Stories
Staff at the St. Paul Public Library presented what they are doing this year to celebrate four of their buildings that are 100 years old (including 3 original Carnegie Libraries). They are also leveraging the celebration to engage their communities in new and interesting ways. This particular project had them collecting stories (originally from people in the neighborhoods of these 4 libraries) about their experiences with the library through the years. It has expanded to included stories about their experiences with their neighborhoods and St. Paul as community. They discussed three elements: the story kits, a digital scrapbook and a storyline. The three could be used together or each separately to let each person or group of people figure out the story they have to tell, produce it and then share it. This is the second session (along with the GCV) that will likely have a strong influence on the outcomes of our strategic plan.
Every Minnesotan an Author
This session, presented by Minitex staff, an academic librarian and a public librarian, focused on the new MN Writes, MN Reads program rolling out. It includes access to Press Books (a digital book formatting platform) and potentially access to Self-E (a digital book publishing platform). I also knew quite a bit about this project, as writers are another focus for us. There wasn’t much substance only because it hasn’t been around too long and very few have tried either platform.
Blinded me with Science!
The focus of this session by a children’s librarian from Winona was STEM programming for toddlers and pre-schoolers. She has a number of terrific ideas and gave a nice overview of why to do this (particularly if parents or others question why for this age group), along with her evolving format and approach. She also gave a number of examples of what she has done, what worked and why some things didn’t. Overall, it was good, but it was only about 30 minutes. The remaining time was spent playing with the craft items she brought along. It was worth going for the little time (15 minutes) she spent describing what kinds of activities she did and sharing a couple of her favorite resources