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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ALA 2013: Take-Aways

I have been gathering my notes from the conference and really thinking about them in the context of how they will help me at my job as a readers' advisor for adults and teens.

One thing I learned is that we do a pretty good job providing services to readers at the BPL.  For our size and budget, our patrons get excellent RA service. But everyone has room for improvement. And while many of you look to me for advice and ideas, I look to you, my colleagues, for the same.  In fact, I went out of my way NOT to present at ALA this year so that I could spend my time learning from others.  And I am happy to say, I got a lot out of my time.

I thought it would be best for me, and hopefully others, if I compiled my top takeaways. To that end, the following is a list of things I am confident our BPL RA Dream Team can tackle in the near future:

  • We can try at least 2 (if not more) ideas from the 20 programs for $20 list with our teens. Not only are the ideas great, but the handouts have videos and step by step instructions.  There is very little planning to do here. I am particularly interested in having a gross out program in October and making marshmallow shooters. The later I think we can somehow incorporate into our Ready Player One Community Reads programming. And I am totally asking if we can have a casino candy program.  If the library administration won't let me do it, I am going to try to get the Friends to run it. 
  • I am going to use volunteer match to try to find specific volunteers for the library as suggested by the Sacramento Public Library.
  • And from the same program, we are having a fundraising spelling bee.  I have already talked to our fearless leader, Kathy, about it and she is excited too. This will probably best be done as part of our regular Trivia Night on the first Tuesday of the month, but we need to wait until 2014 to do it right.
  • From the Leading Readers to Water Program:
    • Treat book news like current events and make a Book News Board
    • Put stickers at the end of books that say, "If you just enjoyed this book and are looking for your next read, may we suggest..." and include our logo.  Each of us already have many lists we have created with readalikes that are posted on the Browsers Corner, but putting them directly in the book for readers to see as they turn the final page saves them a step. This is my favorite takeaway from the conference.  As soon as we can set up a template, I am using my reviews from this blog to make these stickers.
    • Clearly mark books in a series with their number order! Why should they have to come over and ask for a list?
    • Use a prize wheel at the RA desk! We are so buying one.  
  • I will use everything James Klise taught me about what boys likes to read every time I work with a male reader.  I am also going to try to see if he can repeat his talk, especially the survey he did with his boy patrons, for ARRT in 2014.
  • After the RUSA genre program, I am more committed than ever to remove the shelving by genre of books at the BPL.  I was happy to walk into this program and see our head of Collection Management there. We are beginning the back-end cataloging work that will make this transition easier, and she is spear heading that.  It will happen, so I am willing to be more patient about it now.  I was happy to hear from the authors during this program about how they use (or wish they did not use) genre as writers and readers.
  • Finally, this is not a takeaway that I can use at work, but I have to comment on it.  Thanks to Ann Patchett's admission that reading was her only hobby, I will never again feel badly that it is also mine.
I should end by saying these are not the only things I will takeaway from ALA 2013, but they are the things that I am confident we can handle.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make after attending an energizing class or conference is to run back to your library and then bite off more than you can chew.  You will end up converting all of that happy energy into angry frustration.

So whether you went to the conference yourself, or you followed it virtually through me and other sites, please sit back and take some time to synthesize what you learned and think about how and if you can apply it to your work.

1 comment:

Sarah Elsewhere said...

We're also adding the RA stickers at the end of the book idea into our repertoire. I was concerned about the permanence of stickers though (patrons can't keep them & they'd be hard to update), so I found a way to print directly onto post-it notes. We'll see how it goes!

That is excellent advice about sitting back and thinking before trying to take on all of the cool new ideas.