Friday, November 8, 2013

Illinois Library Association 2013 Meeting

I was able to attend three meeting at this years ILA, as well as explore the various vendor exhibits.

While each meeting was very interesting, I really lucked out at being able to attend Tumbling and Pinning which was presented by Kevin Toomey (Skokie Public Library) and Kate Tkacik (Bank of Montreal).

Since we have already been playing around with Pinterest here at the Library, I was really hoping to find out if Tumblr might be a better a choice for us.  And it is!  Many libraries have had large successes with engaging new (and younger) users, including Tumblr users who may not even be a member of their Library's community.  I was very impressed by the ease of use and the large amount of creativity we can use as staff members to create a unique Tumblr log for La Grange. I am really looking forward to talking with various departments about the different ideas they may have for our own Tumblr.
ILA 2013 - Nikki

I got to do two things this year that I haven't done in years past. As one of the organizers of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project, I staffed a booth in the exhibit hall and got to talk with many people who stopped by to inquire about the project.

I also presented a program along side Jeannie and Caroline and two gals from Des Plaines Public Library. The program, titled Fire Up Your Staff: Using Values to Focus Your Organization toward Your Vision, focused on discussing why library staff may want to develop values in their organization, suggested steps to be taken in discovering and forming those values, as well as how to implement them once they are in place. (After attending The Secrets of Powerful Presentations at the conference on Tuesday, I came back to the library to spend a little time "beefing" up our PowerPoint for Wednesday's presentation!) I think the program was received well, as we had a standing-room-only audience who stayed for the entire program.

Two of the sessions I attended are below:

Ignite Your Imagination!
Using Volunteers Creatively to Meet Challenges in 21st Century Libraries

I was disappointed with this presentation. I felt like it was just a laundry list of what the presenters had done at their libraries (and they were big libraries!). I think I was hoping for suggestions on how to get and keep volunteers, as well as suggestions that might work with a limited number of volunteers instead of the huge number these libraries had at there disposal.

The Secrets of Powerful Presentations
This was a very useful session! The speakers were to the point and gave specific, useful and doable suggestions that anyone could implement immediately. They discussed, no, it would be more accurate to say, they showed us how to be more dynamic when presenting by using bold visuals that entertain and incorporating storytelling. I really enjoyed this session and used some ideas in our presentation the next day.

ILA Conference 2013 (Thursday – October 17) – Gail
Because the last day of the conference was a shortened day I was only able to attend two sessions.

The first workshop – Health Information for the Public: Resources, Services, and Sparking Relationships reminded me what a wonderful resource the MedlinePlus website is - site offers reliable, up-to-date health information in easy to understand layman’s language in both English and Spanish. Besides discussing diseases and treatments, the site also contains drug information, medical dictionaries and encyclopedias, surgery and anatomy information. Also included are links to the latest medical research on specific illnesses, information on clinical trials, and videos and illustrations on health and wellness topics. An excellent resource.

The second – When the Heat Is On: Tools for Intellectual Freedom Issues did not actually supply “tools” for dealing with intellectual freedom issues, but rather provided examples of censorship concerns and facilitated discussion between panel and audience in what was billed as an “interactive program”. Many of the make-believe scenarios involved academic or special libraries rather than public libraries so while it was interesting I felt it had little relevance to my position.
In addition to attending the workshops, I also had a little time to visit the Exhibit Hall. Because booths had begun dismantling I was offered lots of candy and pens!

ILA Report - Linda Ertler

Change your Attitude, Change Your Underwear
Dawn Mushill

This presentation about positive attitudes helped me realize that we all do have control over what kind of day it will be.  There are no bad days, just bad moments. Try to surround yourself with positive people and realize that you can’t change negative people only how you react to them.  Life is what you make it.   Positive people have happier lives!

Turning Conflict into Collaboration
Candace Fisher, Megan Rameau, Lauren Soderstrom

Conflict isn’t always bad.  Sometimes conflict helps to open a dialogue on how to improve a situation or organization.  One important step is to get emotions under control.  Get all the facts, seek input from all involved on how to resolve the situation and make sure everyone listens. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What I Learned At ILA - Beth Lukaszewicz

From the Elusive Library Non-User presentation, I learned the only way to attract library users is to know your community and understand its needs.  A library was finally able to reach its growing Hispanic community by offering literacy, ESL, and citizenship programs.  Another library was able to increase its users by simply rearranging the furniture to expose the outlets so people could charge the devices they brought with them.

I also attended “Five Million and Counting:  Serving the Growing Number of People with Alzheimer’s in Your Community.”  The presenting library has a program designed to stimulate memories through travel books, food, and activities.  So many of our patrons seem to be seniors, and it made me think how nice it would be if we could have an outreach program of some sort to include some of our older patrons once they can no longer come on their own.  We are always reaching out to the children, why not their grandparents too?

ILA Conference Caroline

I always wish I could be a multiple places at once when I go to these conferences.  It’s always so hard to decide what to go to!  These are the sessions I got the most out of:

Early Literacy: What’s it all about? Helping All Children Enter School Ready to Learn to Read
I’ve read Saroj’s books and used the ALA early literacy tool kit and feel fairly well versed in Early Literacy, but it was good to hear Saroj speak as there are always new things to learn. One of the new things that I learned about during this session was the  release of the revised  Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards and their alignment with the State Common Core Standards.  There are Birth to Three Learning Standards, and Early Learning Standards for  3-5 years.  While the standards themselves are long and technical to read through (147-170 pages!!) reading through them reinforced my understanding of early childhood development, and further grounded my understanding of the principles behind the Every Child Ready to Read Program.   In some cases I also gained a better understanding of how to incorporate some of the standards into what we are already doing. For example the importance of including non-fiction materials in storytimes has been a re-occurring theme in the professional literature lately.  Reading the Goal, Learning Standards and Example Performance Descriptors for non fiction materials gave me a better idea of how to effectively include an informational text in a storytime and a better understanding of the type of questions to ask and the type of interactions to try to facilitate. (Goal 3, on page 35 of the early learning standards
The entire website is a wealth of information.  I found the parent videos to be particularly helpful  and much easier to wade through than the official documents.  The videos help make some of the technical concepts more accessible and much easier to understand. They do a great job of demonstrating and explaining the different types of learning that takes place in different situations and furthered my understanding of learning through play. (Play in another topic that is currently prolific within the professional field)  In addition to demonstrating effective interactions with young children, the videos also include links to additional resources—and these additional resources are another wealth of information. There’s just a ton of information and ideas collected here.   (There were several videos that utilized old boxes and have me wanting to do a “Not a Box” play program.  It  would be so fun to do one of those after Christmas when people tend to have a ton of boxes around the house!)
The state standards are a good reference resource and should be taken into consideration when planning and thinking about early learning spaces, programs and services.   The standards provide a foundational  framework for understanding  child development  for children 0-3 and 3-5.   
A few other tid bits that I liked from Saroj’s presentation:
·         She has stopped using the term emergent because literacy is not something that just emerges—it has to be taught!
·         While not a fan of AR or Lexile numbers, she has used them to successfully sell picture books to parents who are pushing their children away from them because they’re “not hard enough.” Noting that a picture book has a challenging AR/Lexile level has helped her convince parents to let their children continue to read picture books.

I really enjoyed some of the poster sessions and exhibits as well.
Gressco Children’s Furniture: I liked some of the furniture and manipulatives available through Gressco Children’s Furniture. They are a company I was previously unfamiliar with.
 Interactive Library Tours: While this poster session was actually about tours done on a college campus, I thought the general construct could be replicated in a public library setting and used with a variety of ages. For the tours they broke the kids up into groups and gave each kid a notebook and a pen, and asked them to make a list of things in 3 categories while they toured the library. The categories were ‘Duh’, ‘huh’,  and ‘Where is the?’ So when the students saw things they expected to see on the tour, they noted it in the ‘Duh’ column, when they saw things that they were surprised to see on the tour, the noted it in the ‘huh’ column and if there was something they didn't see but want to know where it is they noted it in the ‘where is the?” column.  After the tour the groups compared their answers. On some level it kind of reminds me of Rachael's comment about  the Lincolnwood Graffitti wall where the kids were asked to write “What can't you do at the library that you would like to be able to do” I liked that the tour engaged the kids and prompted them to ask their own questions while also letting the librarians know more about what expectations and preconceptions the students came to the library with. Some mash up of these ideas may be a effective way to get feedback from kids and teens about our programs and services for the next strategic plan.  (We’ve discovered that having kids fill out post program surveys yields very little relevant information!  )
Creating STEM Based Circulating Science Kits Through Local Partnerships
  • I like the idea of providing circulating science kits. Although they can be an expensive initial investment, they have been well received in the libraries that have them and it’s a good way to provide STEM support without having to know a ton about science.  They suggest looking into partnerships with local technical schools and universities both for funding and for ideas about how to create a kit. Our local contact for IEEE is (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers)
  • Funding can also come from grants and FOL groups and STEM grants.
  • A good resource for developing Science library kits and programs is:
  • IEEE partnered with Mount Prospect Public Library to develop circulating science kits and established library processes and procedures for the kits. A detailed description of the kits can be found here.
  • Here is some basic information about the kits taken from the above linked manual:
o    Each kit comes with information and equipment to perform science activities. Kits are limited to MPPL cardholders and circulate for three weeks with holds and renewals allowed.
o    Each kit includes a binder of background information and/or instructions for experiments.
o    Some of the kits include parts that periodically need to be replenished; the
library covers the costs of these parts and materials. For example, the straw rocket launcher kit comes with straws and note cards that the library provides.  
  •  The Kits range in price averaging about 100$ per kit.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

ILA Conference 2013 (Tues.) - Sarah


The Best (and Not So Best) Practices in Social Media
The presenters shared how their libraries (two public, one academic) maintain an active presence on social media. I was interested to learn how differently these libraries approach social media. For example, one library relies on a departmentally-diverse social networking committee of ten, while another allows only two librarians to post to its social media sites in order to protect the library’s “voice.” I came away with some helpful tips.

E-Book Essentials: Everything You Need to Know About E-Books and Libraries Now
This session was an informative glimpse into the complicated relationships between libraries and publishers. Keith Michael Fiels (ALA) covered the history of publishers working (and not working) with libraries and Larra Clark (ALA) shared e-book advocacy resources. Finally, Deirdre Brennan (RAILS) announced the new Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Program, through which Illinois libraries will discover and “make famous” an unknown self-published author of a work of adult fiction.

Refreshing User Space within an Existing Library: The UIC Library IDEA Commons
Jay Lambrecht (UIC) and architect Andy Tinucci showed us how UIC transformed a 15,000 sq. ft. room into a 24-hour active learning space through the thoughtful use of lighting, furniture, and layout. During the design process, they divided the space on paper into Fixed, Flexible, and Lounge zones and then selected the furniture and lighting that met the intended purpose of each zone. I especially liked the use of whiteboard walls and metal curtains that students can manipulate to create impromptu group study rooms.

Better Websites Make Happier People: Web Management Essentials beyond Virtual Design
In my last session of the day, Anne Slaughter (Oak Park PL) explained how to create a content strategy for your library's website. I learned a lot from her presentation and think the LGPL website would benefit from the type of written content strategy she described. Also, Richard Kong (Arlington Heights Memorial Library) discussed usability testing and Brodie Austin (Des Plaines PL) showed us how to make our content visually appealing, create a conversation, project confidence, and understand context.

I also attended the free ILA Preconference on Monday:

RDA--It’s Not ARmageDdon: A Practical Guide to Using the New Cataloging Code
Adam Schiff (U of Washington) and Bobby Bothmann (Minnesota State U, Mankato) walked us through book and AV cataloging using RDA in MARC, pointing out LC PCC PSs, their personal preferences, and system tips along the way. This session clarified a few best practices for me, and the handouts are excellent reference tools.