MLA 2017 – Day One

This year I had the privilege of going to the Minnesota Library Association’s (MLA) conference here in Rochester, MN.

The first session I went to was entitled,¬†Project Management for the Uninitiated, or Why It’s Never Okay to Call Your Coworkers “Monkeys”. This session was really interesting as they outlined the steps it takes to plan out a project, and some of the things you have to deal with. They outlined the steps as follows:

  • Initiation: planning to plan (who, what, where, when, why)
  • Planning and design: documenting the plan
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and controlling
  • Closing: Finalize documentation for future projects

They also talked about how it is impossible to over communicate, and that communication is key. I also liked how they discussed leadership, and not to let the monkeys run the zoo. And to develop a plan, and say no when it is necessary. Something I think everyone struggles with.

The second session I went to was entitled, Locking In Literacy: Using Breakout Boxes for Library Programming. This session was run by some of the librarians in our region, Alice Henderson (Plainview), Meg Curtiss (Plainview), and Angie Gustafson (Zumbrota). What I really liked about this session was that they had put together two break out boxes for us to do. Most of the session was us engaging and working together to solve the puzzles, and unlock the boxes. After that they discussed how they put them together using information from BreakoutEDU. In some cases they bought the kit from BreakoutEDU, and adapted it. Overall this session was great for the hands on experience, as well as learning how libraries can apply this to programming, and how popular it has been. Something that can be scalable to all libraries in the region, which makes for a great option for programming.

The last session I went to was Librarian on the Loose, by Shari Carlson from Hokah, MN. I knew Shari was doing this program, but when I went in I had no idea what the program entailed. Basically to get more of the community engaged with the library, Shari put together a bike with programs, such as puppets and games, and headed out onto the streets of Hokah. She would go to the parks, and events in the community and interact with patrons. Shari said doing this program has increased library usage, and made patrons aware there was a library in town when some of them didn’t know. This summer was Shari’s second summer doing Librarian on the Loose, and she said people from neighboring towns have started coming to her programs.

Overall it was a great first day of the MLA 2017 conference. As always, there was a ton of useful information to process. Looking forward to day two of the conference.