I was fortunate enough to be the Angel Scholarship winner this fall, enabling me to attend the Conference in my old stomping grounds. Decades ago, I graduated from St. Michael’s College in nearby Winooski, and was pleased to be able to return to vibrant and gorgeous Burlington.
This conference has reignited my enthusiasm for a position I have held for nearly thirty years. As the director of a rural library in southeastern Connecticut, I’ve had periods in a rut/groove, not serving my community with the passion and investment that marked my first years here. However, the ideas and tools that were so generously shared at the ARSL conference give me plenty to do over the next few years. I have always marveled at our sharing mentality, and am especially grateful to those who brought up the websites unsplash, techboomers, and zohosocial, as well as every attendee who provided advice and wisdom throughout the week.
Our library board and staff are in the beginning stages of a library refresh, so the conference timing and the tools I returned home with are critical as they’ve given me more confidence and knowledge moving ahead. After attending the excellent, full-day pre-conference, Are You Awesome? Then Show It! Practical Techniques for Using Evaluation to Improve Your Library and Demonstrate Your Impact, run by the Research Institute for Public Libraries, my upcoming surveys and data presentations will be much more interesting to the audience than they might have been. With the information provided in the conference sessions, we are preparing to announce our Library of Things in January, and the staff is beginning to move our picture books into user-friendly themed collections. In the session, Engaging Community and Keeping Them, I realized the importance of integrating my community’s values and vision as we look to ensure the library’s success in the future. Other sessions that I found especially useful were Own your brand–Marketing on a budget; Making without Space – Circulating Stem Kits, and Open your Library Space to Discovery and Imagination. If you have a chance, take a look at the presentation materials for many of the sessions provided on the conference website.
Thank you to ARSL members who gave me the chance to attend this fabulous conference. It truly made a difference.