Guest Blogger

#PLA2018 – How to Adult, the Long and Winding Road (Home), and Mom Guilt

Do you have teens in your library?  I hope so!  Do those teens need to life hacks to be ready to adult?  Probably.  Enter #PLA2018’s amazing How to Adult: Teaching Life Skills to Teens.  This presentation outlines a super successful joint program of several California teen librarians called Adult 101, that covers typical “life skills” topics like budgeting and time management, but also delves into some topics that are particularly important to teens in the first few years of life after high school.  The series covers issues like: Moving out – how to find a place to stay, make sure it’s legit, find roommates, create a roommate agreement (or, How Not To Kill Your Roommates), and reasonable rent expectations. Public Speaking – according to Forbes, only 10% of adults actually enjoy public speaking, the rest of us muddle through it. Food prep – how to eat healthy on a budget,…

Guest Blogger

#PLA2018 Drag Up Your Storytime!

I showed up early and parked myself close to the front of the room for Drag Queen Story Hour, the session I was most excited about. It did not disappoint! Queer performers who defy gender limitations are trained in storytime 101 by libraries to engage, sing, and read stories with children and families. Stories range from books championing diversity like Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress and Worm Loves Worm, to roaringly fun staples like The Book With No Pictures. Ever since hearing about the growing movement of these bright, fun, and fabulous storytimes, I’ve been curious about the logistics of bringing it to my own community. After the session, I felt confident that it’s not a matter of if but when I can make this happen! I serve a community that, at surface level, might not seem to be crying out for a drag queen storytime. With that said, appearances…

Guest Blogger

#PLA2018 From Passive Participants to Engaged Experimenters

It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey. Inquiry-Based STEM Programming challenged us to embrace a learn-together model that puts students in the driver’s seat, empowering them to take ownership of their learning. We don’t need to be experts to impart critical thinking and problem solving skills, stimulate decision making and nurture curiosity, and ultimately create a cycle of continuous learning and trying new things. We can build off of school curriculum without being bound to it. It’s a great opportunity for kids to explore science, tech, engineering, and math in a relaxed environment without judgment or pressure. It’s more intuitive to absorb knowledge and concepts when it’s through personal, hands-on experience. Kids should be encouraged to dabble and see what happens! Inspire wonder. Relate science, technology, engineering, or math to real life, to something that will resonate with and excite kids. Pick a phenomenon and develop questions to drive…

Guest Blogger

#PLA2018 Day 3, AKA the tired day

Went to the hotel fitness center this morning.  Yesterday I lifted, which I could do endlessly.  Today was a day to run, and my body was like, “Do you know what you’ve been feeding me for two days?  No.  This isn’t happening.”  #PLA2018, where Marisa makes all the bad health decisions!  I powered through, because librarians know who to persevere, but I’m at like 40% energy level for the rest of the day.

Guest Blogger

Fine Free Is The Way To Be #PLA2018

My last morning at #PLA2018 has been a morning, y’all. When I arrived at the convention center, the street was blocked off by police tape and a massive law enforcement presence. It was a whole to-do, and it took me the better part of an hour to figure out if I could actually get into the building or not. Everything is fine, thank goodness, they were investigating some suspicious activity, but it made for a harried start to the day. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it to the first session, which is the one I’ve been most looking forward to: Eliminating Fines and Fees on Children’s Materials to Create a Win-Win for Your Library and Community. Luckily, I slid in with just a few minutes to spare. The presenters talked about eliminating barriers to service, especially for low-income families, by getting rid of late fines on…

Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla

Eliminating Fines and Fees on Children’s Materials at #pla2018

Why do libraries charge fines? Fines are a source of revenue, a chance to teach responsibility to our youngest patrons, and a way to encourage people to bring materials back on time. Or are they? What if it turned out that none of those assumptions were true? A new white paper (Https:// looks at the available data and concludes that fines do not do any of those things, although librarians and patrons have deeply held beliefs that they do. At Eliminating Fines and Fees on Children’s Materials to Create a Win-Win for Your Community, my mind was blown by a study which showed that nominal library fees do not have ANY impact on overdue rates. Only steep fines result in more prompt return of material. Unless your library is willing to charge $5 a day on overdue picture books, the fines are not resulting in the timely return of your…

Blogger Elizabeth Serrano

Engaging the Latino Community #PLA2018

PLA presentation photo

(Re)Building Latina/o Outreach: Steps to Engaging Your Community After attending my first Pura Belprè Celebration last year at Annual, I promised myself to attend more sessions and events which revolved around my culture. On Thursday at PLA 2018, I attended a great session called (Re)Building Latina/o Outreach: Steps to Engaging Your Community. What was great about the presentation was that many of the suggestions didn’t only apply to the Latino community – they applied to all types of cultures we might be serving in our spaces.

Guest Blogger

#PLA2018 Day 2 – Inspiration Achieved

I promised myself I’d do several short blog posts throughout the day today.  Ha!  It’s after 9 and I’m just now sitting down to type because there is just SO MUCH worth doing at #PLA2018!  I took my laptop with me today, and I have SIX PAGES of notes just from today, and more ideas for new programs and services than I can fit in my head! You guys, I am not even kidding, my first session of the day ALONE was worth the cost of admission! Talking is Teaching: Opportunities for Increasing Early Brain and Language Development, is the inspiring overview of the San Francisco Public Library’s partnership with Too Small To Fail (  Now let me give you a disclaimer – I had been out of public libraries for 5 years until November, so many of you are likely already aware of the amazing Too Small To Fail. …