As I said yesterday, the Library and the Community presentation was very interesting. It covered two of my current favorite themes: outreach and democracy. OK, maybe Democracy is a bit of a stretch here, but it does show people without means that the library is for them, too. One thing that really upsets me is when public libraries are treated as if they are only for the powerful people, even when it’s not the powerful people who need their services the most (this will probably come up later, when I discuss a friend’s presentation on the Commodification of the Library.)
Ms. Florea talks about collaborations with different community agencies. Some examples:
- Creating tote bags with books about issues facing families (divorce, death, new babies) and having local aid agencies give parents “prescriptions” for the tote bags
- Leaving recently de-selected but still decent books at WIC offices for parents to read while they’re there or even take home if necessary
- Providing traveling storytimes for community centers with childcare, such as the Y or Boys and Girls Club, who can’t always get their children to the library
Various funding options were discussed. Some of the outreach was carried out with the help of grants from Health and Human Services and other organizations.
Attendees also shared examples of outreach from their communities.
Presented by Vera Florea, Springfield-Greene County Library
10:00-10:45, Thursday October 5, 2006
This session immediately followed a Make it and Take it session for children’s librarians, so we met a few friends who were leaving with their plant-pot bells and their paper plate bean shakers. It looked like their session was great fun.
Vera Florea discussed several of the different projects the Springfield library carried out with other organizations. Some of the collaborations were with Friends of the Library, Parents as Teachers, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army, the school district’s summer school program, house of hope, and their parks and recreation department. She said library outreach is important because children can’t get themselves to the library.
Some of the projects were family reading bags, a wee read program, stories to go, and discovery bags. I will discuss them in another post.
Presented by: The Mid-Continent Public Library’s GLBT Group
Thursday, Oct 5, 2006, 9am-9:45am
This was a great session. The presenters covered how to build a core GLBT collection.
They started with describing how to define this core collection. They looked at lists generated by the ALA and by some GLBT writers’ groups. They compared this list to the holdings at the libary and purchased books using rotating budget money.
Advice for forming the group:
-treat it like a real organization
-send minutes up the chain of command
-know how to evaluate a need
After the sessions, I went to the Expo area, where the Book Cart Drill Team competition was beginning. I couldn’t really get a good view. I took this picture holding my camera over my head.
The local team, from Daniel Boone Regional Library, won with their pirate-themed routine. The team shown here was the second-place winner.
After the drill team competition, we wandered around the Expo center and visited vendors… mostly the professors from our school, since almost everyone I was hanging around with graduated last year and wanted to make contact. Then, some of us went to the Missouri Library Network Corporation 25th anniversary reception (poolside… the pool was covered and it was a bit chilly out there, but still nice), others went to the MACRL dinner, and still others went to the Performer Showcase. I wish I had gone to the Performer Showcase as well. It was a lot of fun last year, and my friends who went this year said it was even better. And Bobby Norfolk was there.
Libraries, Democracy, and the Public Interest
Presented by Denice Adkins, John Budd, and Doug Raber, University of Missouri
3:15-4 pm, October 4, 2006
This session was far too short. The presenters began with the Assumptions of Democracy (U.S. version): Public participation, informed citizenry, fundamental freedoms, individual rights, and majority rule. We spent a little time discussing what those meant, and then went on to try to figure out what was a library’s responsibility. The presenters asked whether libraries were obligated just to provide information or whether libraries were obligated to inform citizens. They asked for a show of hands. It appeared most of the people in the room believed libraries were simply obligated to provide information, but a few of the younger librarians in the room believed there was an obligation to inform. (I interpreted that to mean that libraries should offer not just materials, but sessions and displays.) It comes down to whether a library should be proactive or responsive. I believe there are good arguments for both.
The topic of library boards came up, as it does. Without a good library board, there’s little a library can do, it seems.
The session ended just as the discussion was really heating up.
“Using Your Body to Reach Their Mind”
Presented by Jennifer Martin, PhD, UMKC
2:15-3:45, Wednesday, October 4, 2006
We did not stay for the whole presentation because it conflicted with another presentation we wanted to go to. Dr. Martin talked about using three in-take modes (hearing/verbal, facial/emotional, and kinesthetic/action) to communicate with library users. She is a drama professor, though, and did not have a great deal of library-specific examples. This session was a great idea, but was not exactly what I was expecting.
The Missouri Library Association conference began Wednesday, October 4, 2006 at the Holiday Inn in Columbia, Missouri. I did not attend any pre-conferences or post-conferences. Met up with some friends who had graduated and scattered away. That was probably the best part of this conference this year.