Monday, October 24, 2011

What I learned at MLA 2011

The handouts for all the sessions at MLA 2011 are on MLA’s website:

I attended the following sessions:

The kick-off keynote speaker was Anita Silvey, author of Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book: Life Lessons From Notable People From All Walks of Life. She shared heartwarming stories from her book.

Why Should We Use Social Media to Promote the Library?
Virginia Erbe is part of Rochester Public Library’s (RPL) communications team. She tweets twice a day. During National Book Month, she posted a daily book trivia question on Facebook. She uses Hootsuite to manage her posts. She posts a little game on the library’s Facebook page every Friday; for example, she asks the library’s Facebook friends to list their ten favorite books or some of their favorite authors. When she gets stories from library staff members, she re-purposes them as a Facebook post or a tweet. Virginia recommends using consistent user names for branding purposes. Also, don’t type like a robot—start a conversation with library users. Post as yourself occasionally. Know your audience. Actual posting on RPL’s social media sites only takes 20% of one staff person’s week. Virginia uses the URL shortener because that free service provides statistics for how many people clicked on the shortened URL, which is usually a link to RPL. RPL has three facebook pages, three twitter accounts, two YouTube channels, Flickr, and two blogs.

Book Clubs: Hands On to Hands Off:
A panel of four librarians and one civilian presented information for library book clubs, including tips on creating book club in a bag kits, leading a library book club, running an online book club for children and teens, and selecting titles for a book club. Audra Otto, the coordinator of the Book Club Club, had some great suggestions for reinvigorating a book club including twinning with another book club for one meeting a year and reading one biography, one mystery, one science fiction title each year. She also suggested reading a book that had been made into a film and then attending the film, reading a play aloud together, and meeting at an ethnic restaurant to discuss a book set in that milieu, but these last suggestions don’t seem practical for a library-sponsored book club.

Killer Cocktails/RART Happy Hour:
This event was cosponsored by the Twin Cities Crime Writers and Sisters in Crime ( There were 17 Minnesota mystery writers at this event, who went from table to table talking about their work. I didn’t realize that a signature cocktail had been created for this event, but several attendees who tried it said it was delicious. Libraries can enter a drawing for $1,000 for their book budgets here: The only requirement is that you need to include “a photo of one or more of your staff with three books in your collection by Sisters in Crime members.”

To Boldly Go: Fantastical Journeys through Science Fiction Readers’ Advisory:
This excellent overview of the science fiction genre was presented by our own Melissa Gray. Some of the titles Melissa suggested for someone just getting started in this genre included I Robot by Isaac Asimov (hard science fiction); the Foundation trilogy, also by
Isaac Asimov (idea driven series); Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (space opera); the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger (steampunk); and the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey (fantasy). Please refer to Melissa’s two-page handout ( , which includes links to her blog and her page.

Readers’ Advisory Round Table Subunit Meeting:
Several members of RART expressed an interest in staff training in readers’ advisory. Rochester Public Library has instituted some RA training and is willing to share their methods, which include a monthly one-hour meeting for the 10 staff members in their Reader Services Division and other interested parties. Preparation for the meeting involves reading an article related to readers’ advisory and then reading a book in a specific genre and talking about it. The books the group reads and annotates are made into a library display with bookmarks, etc. I believe they call the monthly meeting “breakfast of champions,” but that might be what another library system is doing—my notes aren’t clear. We decided that audiobooks and their narrators would be a topic at our 2012 spring readers’ retreat.

Desert keynote: Engagement through Games: Reaching Library Users
through Playful Ways:
Dr. Scott Nicholson, Associate Professor and Program Director for the Masters of Science in Library and Information Science, Syracuse University, talked about games in the library and also had the audience create a role playing game.

E-books: What’s All the EXCITEMENT About?
This was a panel discussion with audience participation. I didn’t really get any new information from it but it was interesting to hear varying perspectives on the issue. Melissa was on the panel, so she can probably offer more insight than I can.

Things in a Flash: The Latest Web 2.0 Tools:
Five librarians introduced five different Web 2.0 tools. Several people talked about QR codes and their applications at the library. My eyes glazed over because I don’t have a smart phone so QR codes have no meaning for me. Two other topics were Wunderlist and Evernote, two list-making apps for the iPhone and iPad.

50 in 60 Book Blast
Library Associates Jennifer Larson and I joined Stephanie Hall, Director of Director of Libraries, Meinders Community Library in Pipestone, Minnesota; Joan Ennis, Librarian at the Northfield Public Library; and Angie Noyes, Librarian at the Hardwood Creek branch of Washington County Public Library; to present our 50 in 60 Book Blast. Each of us talked about 10 books: Nordic mysteries (me), science fiction/fantasy (Stephanie), women’s fiction (Joan), young adult (Jen), and paranormal fiction (Angie). We were lucky this year to start at the relatively civilized hour of 9:30 in the morning, and there were over 120 people in the audience, it was standing room only. We had one technical difficulty—the laptop quit for five minutes in the middle of our Prezi, but I was able to show our slides by holding up my new iPad 2. Also Stephanie had brought all her books, so I held them up during her portion of the show.

Go Forth!
The luncheon keynote speaker was William Kent Krueger, award-winning author of the Cork O’Connor series, who shared several heart-warming stories about his childhood and books and storytelling and libraries.

--Barb @ Highland Park

No comments: