Even More CALCON 2014 Reflections

Posted on behalf of Jen Hillebrandt,  Youth Services Coordinator for the Gunnison County Library District, CALCON 2014 Small/Rural Scholarship Winner

CALCONSo, CALCON.  It’s been weeks now, but I’m STILL utilizing so much from that information packed 3 days (or was it 4? Sheesh there was ALOT going on!)  You know how you have those days, weeks, months perhaps, of feeling like the hamster on the wheel, or Bill Murray in Groundhog Day where you’re just in a rut with work?  ANOTHER toddler storytime?  “Yes, we have Unbroken.  Yes, I’ll put it on hold for you.”  “The bathroom’s around the corner.”  “No, you can’t shoot your popgun in the library (true story).”  Well, as much as I hate to admit it, it was happening to me this fall. Perhaps it was SRP burnout.  Or the change of the seasons.   Or the fact that the Broncos lost to the Seahawks, AGAIN.  Anyhoo, I was doing the whole “what-am-I-doing-with-my-life-should-I-really-keep-working-at-the-library-aren’t-I-supposed-to-BE-more?” thing.  Right.  And then I attended CALCON.  Wow.  Makerspaces and programming and marketing, oh my!   Activism and questioning and freedom, oh my.   Networking and brainstorming and POSSIBILITIES, oh my.  Not to mention those desserts!

My top three picks, or AHA! moments are as follows:

  1. Marketing and outreach workshops by Pat Wagner and Karen Lemke.  Basically, the sky’s the limit, as with everything in libraryland these days.  I loved Pat’s words about the dangers of “overprogramming” (didn’t know that was possible?!), and dedicating both time and money for getting OUT of the library building and into the community to create partnerships and relationships.  I especially enjoyed her anecdote relating to number 5 in her handout  about the librarian who reached out to folks at the local biker’s bar and ended up with them doing a fundraiser rally for their local library.  Karen taught us about so many possibilities and resources (seriously, what CAN’T that woman do?), and how to spruce up what we already do in terms of getting the word out about how fabulous the library is.  Here’s her Prezi in case you couldn’t attend.
  2. Obviously, being a Youth Services librarian, I was motivated and inspired by the three programming workshops I was lucky enough to attend, each of which focused on a different age group.  Great fun was had by all, with TONS of resources shared at the Music and Movement storytime workshop.  We learned how to simply and effectively incorporate yoga, dance , music, as well as digital elements to create multi-media and interactive literacy times.  Pinterest is great, but I prefer to get a hands-on/body-on experience when it comes to learning and trying new ideas.  Thanks to Andrea, Lizz, and Amy for presenting!  I also left the Teen programs workshop re-inspired to try new things for that age group, which historically, at least in my community, has been difficult to provide services for.  Here’s a link to their site, which includes slides from the presentation so one can get an idea of all the AWESOME things all these librarians are doing.  http://yaservices.drupalgardens.com  Finally, I attended a very helpful workshop focusing on afterschool activities for youth at the library, presented by Ally Garcia and Lynley Allen of the Clearview Library District.  Wow, they are BUSY over there.  But I was again inspired to provide more and better activities for our young people, and our attendance is up!
  3. Last, and certainly not least, was the presentation by the powerful combination of the Jeffco (Jefferson County School District) Students for Change activists and William C. Davidon’s daughter, Sarah.  Their actions and words were and are such great reminders of why I for one do what I do- work in library world.  Intellectual freedom CANNOT be taken for granted or the power of it be underestimated.  Yes, I spend most of my time at work planning for story times and after school activities for children.  But I get to do it in a LIBRARY, where as it says in the Library Bill of Rights (I paraphrase): We don’t censor, we don’t discriminate, and we constantly cooperate with any and all on the provision of FREE access to information.  Lucky, lucky me.

So, I’m not questioning my role as a librarian anymore.  Instead, I’m now asking myself, “What ELSE can I do to provide for our patrons?”  Thank you, CALCON.  Thank you.

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