Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The (un)Conference: No Zombies Needed!

           As  a new employee to MNPS, I wasn’t sure what to expect at our (un)conference.  I assumed there would be the standard “we’re going to have a great year” with a few library buzzwords thrown into the mix.  I thought I’d catch up on Tumblr posts, see what my friends were posting on Instagram or Twitter, and then get to a new level on Plants vs. Zombies. 
Much to my surprise, our (un)conference was more than I could ever have imagined.  Aside from meeting some wonderful librarians, I was introduced to a whole new world of what a library could be.  My recent experiences are from a small county system.  Really small.  So small, in fact, that the nine or so librarians in the county never had our own in-service.  We were thrown in among the art teachers, music teachers, and gym teachers to listen to policies and practices that didn’t apply to us (and play Plants vs. Zombies out of boredom).
Thirty minutes into Joyce and Shannon’s (yes, Joyce Valenza and Shannon Miller, real librarian celebraties!) keynote and I was blown away.  In fact, I sent out the following text message: “can’t talk now.  In new job conference thing…learning more now than in 2 years of pd in at my previous position, plus most of grad school!”  Curation is brilliant! Why hadn’t I heard about it before? Then came the new tools , like Symbaloo, Smore, Diigo, and Canva! Hacking your library, genre-fying your collection, and creating maker spaces – it’s enough to make your head spin, in the best way possible of course.
            No librarian could possibly do everything that was talked about and learn every single tool mentioned, which is why I think the best advice Shannon gave was to only pick two or three things to learn during a year.  It’s a tangible, achievable goal that we can do.  I’m also pledging to “quit making the bed” – that is, to stop doing all the things in the library that don’t directly help our users so that we can focus on things that will!

MNPS Librarian

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