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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Public Health Partners for Media Mentorship

Over the course of the past year,  thanks to a LSTA grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and also thanks to a growing national and state-wide discussion on the topic, IFLS librarians have been working on getting up to speed about being Media Mentors.  We have learned about they whys and hows of sharing new media with families, and learned about evaluating apps.  We have learned about child development and the needs of young children, and how this fits with technology.  We've had some amazing workshops with national and international experts, and we've had multiple smaller conversations among ourselves.

It's been a fruitful year, and I'm busy working on ways to follow through with additional resources and support to help everyone continue the work we've started.  One of my best resources for doing this is my new friend Karen Morris, this region's Maternal and Child Health Public Health Nurse Consultant.  She is helping me think about ways to link up public health nurses and WIC programs with libraries so they can share information and ideas with each other, work together to reach a diverse clientele, and continue the discussion about child development and media--and how to support families.

I can't tell you how marvelous it is to share perspectives and ideas with someone else who cares passionately about families, but who has a whole different set of background knowledge and work.  I think this will pave the way for a lot more collaboration and partnerships between public libraries and public health (I know many folks are already doing cool things).  Watch for more in the months to come.

tree with sun shining through branches

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

WLA Conference

WLA Logo
I've read a few accounts of the WLA Annual Conference, and I have to add my accolades.  I have had a whirlwind fall with more work-related obligations than usual--I've been out of the office more than in, it feels like.  I wrapped up October with a much-needed family vacation, which was fabulous, but also meant I was out of the office even more!  And then I got dumped out of the family car on the way home from North Carolina for several days with my library colleagues from around the state.

Tending somewhat toward introversion, it was a bit of a stretch for me to go from 100% family-friend time straight to a conference.  But I found this conference to be one of the most inspiring, connecting ones I have attended!  Even though after the wild fall I was tired, and kind of longing for my own bed and 2 days in a row in my office, I also relished the chance to be around so many generous, kind, smart, and passionate colleagues. Ashley Bieber (LEPMPL) told me she thinks of the annual conference as being sort of like summer camp--a great chance to get together with old friends you don't get to see often enough, make new ones, and learn some cool stuff--and spending time on different turf with the kids from the neighborhood (yay for all the IFLS-area librarians who were able to attend!).  Would that I would have had a summer camp experience like that!  But I love the analogy.

I met some new folks at a Youth Services Section Meet-Up and while sitting at the YSS Booth in the exhibit hall.  I cheered on the River Falls Public Library (WLA Library of the Year) and the other amazing award-winners.  I hung out with friends from across the state and system.   I attended fantastic sessions--I left every single one with a nugget of an idea that I'm excited to implement:  Every Day Advocacy seems much more in my reach, difficult conversations a little less terrifying, aspiration-based planning a more realistic aspiration, I'm thinking about future presenters for professional development, and much more.  I truly applaud all the conference planners and presenters, almost all of whom are volunteering to make this happen.  Thanks for putting yourself out there!