CIL2017 – Becoming Library Journal Library of the Year

As the Computer in Libraries conference started this morning, the opening keynote was entitled Becoming Library Journal Library of the Year.  This keynote was from Gina Millsap from Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library describing what they did and the process of being 2016’s Library Journal Library of the year. Gina talked a lot about making connections in the community, and partnering with other businesses for programming. She also discussed reaching out to the community, as well as working with a great staff. She even showed us a video her staff put together, which I have embedded below.

But throughout the presentation, a couple of things stuck with me as she described her library. The first thing was how she stressed that it wasn’t about her, her staff, or her library. It was about reaching out to others. Which can be seen in their library’s missions statement.

Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
Your place. Stories you want. Information you need. Connections you seek.

What impressed me with this, is just the missions statement alone makes one feel that the library is there for them. I think that is sometimes missed in the day to day bustle of trying to get everything done for everyone.

The other great thing she talked about is how librarians roles are changing, and how they can affect real world change if they can decide who they are, and what their goals are.  To explain this she showed a video from one of her staff members, Lissa Staley, on how her role has changed from when she started working libraries 15 years ago, to what she does today.  I have the video embedded below.

But beyond all the cool community programs and outreach they have done, beyond all partnerships they have done with local businesses, Gina talked about a patron asked her why they were chosen now, and not before, and Gina said it was because they applied. I think this shows that sometimes we are so busy doing all the things, that we forget to just try. I know several librarians in my own region that do amazing things, but to them it is just another day on the job.