Guest Blogger

So You Just Attended a Conference. Now What? with #ALSC20

Every time I get a chance to take in ideas from other library staff, be it at an in-person conference, virtual conference, webinar, book, or blog, I leave positively bustling with ideas.

For about a day.

Then the problems and doubts begin to set in. My manager says no. I don’t have the budget. We don’t have the space. I don’t know enough about this topic to do this. There are so many ways we need to improve.

How can we do all this?

I think it’s normal to have uncertainty about how to translate the big ideas you’ve learned about into a reality. Especially when we are working to confront important, visceral issues like colonialism, accessibility, trauma in our communities, and so much more.

If you, like me, aren’t in management, and don’t control most of the decisions made in your library, it can be difficult to figure out how to sustain that passion you felt while you were listening to a presentation. How do you turn any of your goals into reality? What’s the first step going to be?

What can you do on Monday?

Or Tuesday. Whatever your first day back at work may be. What can you do that requires no convincing of your manager or library board? No new funding sources? No (as I’m frequently tempted to do) throwing your entire floor plan out the window and starting over?

Maybe you can…

  • Built a cart of new books representing a particular community to add to your collection
  • Start evaluating your collection and weed books that prioritize colonialist narratives
  • Change out your displays (if you’re open) or share book lists online that celebrate #ownvoices authors and BIPOC joy
  • Make a visual schedule to display during your next virtual storytime, or try out another accessibility practice
  • Look up whose land your library is on, and create a way to share that information with your public
  • Something more?

If you can, don’t let your first day back slip away from you. Don’t let the inspiration you felt from that one great talk (or six great talks!) get erased by the everyday grind of answering reference questions or handling no-contact pick up.

I know on Monday I’m going to be researching children’s literature by Muslim authors and illustrators who identify with a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds, because the fantastic talk on Muslim representation in children’s literature made me realize I have only been reading (and recommending) one particular type of Muslim voice, and I need to stop that ASAP.

What will you do on Monday?

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