Spot the Empire Librarian's blog

Welcome to a librarian's online musings on libraries, literature and information media.

NYLA 2014 in Saratoga

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Thank you to the Public Library Services division of the New York Public Library association.  I throughly enjoyed  participating , learning, volunteering  and interacting during your recent  annual conference.  As promised, I vowed to document my experiences here as part of my professional development.


Upon arrival  in Saratoga, New York on Wednesday Nov 5th,  I proceeded to help out at the registration desk by handing out registration bags and name tags at the check in desk.  Surprisingly,  I ran into Tom Lawrence,  the Library Director in neighboring Poughkeepsie/Arlington proper.  We both volunteered at the registration desk, handing out conference badges for the afternoon, catching up with fellow librarians from across the state as they arrived to check in. And truth be told, Tom is a blast. It was a hysterically funny afternoon.


Wednesday evening, I joined  the PLS members for  dinner at the Sushi Thai Garden Restaurant.  Not only was it great to meet so many librarians from around the state,  though many of them  I knew or work with librarians that I know!   And , it goes without saying that the food was artfully presented.   One member of our table had their meal presented in a ceramic boat.

suhithai sushithasaratoga03

The keynote address , Rich Hardwood,  founder of the Hardwood Institute,  spoke of  the need to building community.  As a national leader in rethinking how to improve politics and public life, generate the civic capacity needed to move communities forward, and spur news media to reconnect with their communities, provide more relevant news coverage, and improve public discourse. He spoke about reclaiming Main Street, being a public innovator to push forward for betterment in the community, the need for librarians to take on this role of  public innovator.   It was very inspiring and fit in with the conference’s theme of ‘connecting communities’.nyla9

Despite a filled conference room of 2000 people,  Tom Sloan,  the Mid Hudson Library System Director found an empty chair and sat beside me.  He is one of my favorite Poughkeepsie library peeps…..such a smart fellow and strong leader.  I will admit to having a librarian crush on him.

From there,  I was off to the Trade Floor,  to help staff the Public Library Section’s booth with fellow PLS member Judith Wines, Library Director in Altamont, NY .  I helped sell tickets for an iPad raffle, demo-ed our squishy circuits exercise to engage participants to ‘connect with their community.’.  We also gave out  mobile device charges  with the NYLA logo; a wall charger brick of a car charger.  Apparently, they were the talk of the conference. A s a result, 23 librarians joined the  PLS division that day  in order to  claim a charger.


I was fortunate to attend a number of engaging and inspiring learning sessions: Making a Maker Space and You got the job, now what?  w/ Sarah Houghton  ( my Librarian in Black hero) and Frank Rees ( a fellow library director from Saugerties)


In the evening, the  PLS Author! Author ! event was held at the Saratoga Library and hosted  New York author Gary Shteyngart.  He spoke of his childhood growing up as an immigrant family in New York City and adapting to  American traditions.  Little Failures is his most recent book.  I throughly enjoyed his presentation, as that Gary’s sense of humor is akin to Woody Allen.


Afterwards, I met up with  some of my Mid Hudson Library System peeps  for a meal at Chianti Ristorante.  It was lovely to unwind with my Beekman, Poughkeepsie, Red Hook and Pawling  cohorts.

The following day,  I attended the PLS Annual Membership Meeting w/ President Sara Dallas , in which my award was announced.  I was also fortunate to  listen to Rebekkah Smith Aldrich (another one  of my MHLS co-horts) speak at Sustainable Thinking.

nyla-1LAMS hosted Luncheon w/ Sarah Houghton was a highlight.  Sarah spoke about the evils of net neutrality and  the ethics of on-line vendor overloads collecting data on our patrons.  A need for librarians to be vigilant and protectors of our patrons’ was highlighted. ( We love you Sarah!)

From there, I attended Opening Creativity: Maker Spaces for Youth Libraries and Funding Innovative Projects in your library. The final day, Saturday morning,  Fundraising with Annual Appeals w/ Kathleen Naftly ( the current director of the Crandall Library and former Rutland Vermont librarian.) and Libraries as a digital media creation hub.

I extend a hearty thank you to the Public Library Sections’s division of the New York Library Association for sponsoring my attendance.  I left feeling inspired,  professional energised and refreshed.  Thank you.  See you in Lake Placid in 2015!  #PLSNYLA #NYLA

Author: spotwin

While I am a librarian , I am a reading cheerleader. The purpose of this library blog is to better promote reading and information literacy to my community. I love books, reading with my son, properly placed apostrophes, canoeing, locating the nearest Starbucks, cheering the Montreal Canadians, and Cherry Garcia ice cream.

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