Live Blogging

The Playful Library #pla2014

This conversation about practical ways to incorporate meaningful play was full of great information. The facilitators talked about play with every age level from preschool to teen. Then, they gave realistic ways to play on a budget and with low staff involvement. Next, we were released into our small groups to discuss how we play in our library and how we could incorporate even more play into our programming. My group was full of ideas such as a lock-in based on different books and after-hours program for middle schoolers. The best statement that I heard at my table was, “Think outside of the Monopoly box.” How are you playing at your library? Are you including all ages?

Live Blogging

Guerrilla Storytime Converstation #pla2014

The guerrilla storytime converstation by Storytime Underground was absolutely filled with practical tips, ideas, and solutions that you can take home and implement right now. The feeling of camaraderie and identification was also wonderful as participants told their tales of storytime successes and disasters. I’m going home with new ideas about how to more gracefully and successfully enforce storytime rules, some fabulous new content, and great ideas for adding more narrative skill building to my storytmes. This session has definitely left me inspired and ready to try some new things.

Live Blogging

Spark Talks #pla2014

What is something that you are currently passionate about in library services? Can you tell me about it in 5 minutes? Welcome to spark talks. Spark talks were born out of a necessity for new ideas to come out in a timely fashion. Conference proposals are often sent in over a year in advance, and we all know that so much can happen in a year! While there are similar programs such as IGNITE or PechaKucha, the only rule for Spark talks is that it must be 5 minutes. Any longer and an air horn will literally go off. You must learn to be succinct in your lecture, argument, or information you are telling. I was fortunate enough to attend both sessions. I learned about things such as serving military families, library drama from this past year, and why you should be doing your own in-house trainings (Guerrilla Training). In…

Guest Blogger

Tinkering with technology #pla2014

This was a fun session put on by a group of librarians from the Chicago area who work with children and teens.  Their aim is to use technology to help patrons develop their creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills.  I attended this program with the hope of learning some cheap, easy, and fun tools to start some more tech-focused youth programming.  Success! They discussed stop motion animation, pencil animation and a 90 second Newbery program.  Robotics  were discussed through the use of an artbot – a very cool drawing robot using a Solo cup and the motor from an electric toothbrush; WeDo, which is the most open-ended Lego robotic set; and of course Lego Mindstorms.  They finished out with an “Art meets Tech” program using light painting which seems so simple even I can do it!  So help your kids and teens build their digital literacy and STEAM skills…

Live Blogging

Morning Jam Session, Story Time Style

One of the sessions that I most looked forward to at #pla2014 was Wee Be Jammin: Using Music to Promote Early Literacy in the Library.  I am a big music person when it comes to story time.  My undergrad degree is in music and I have used it to develop music-based programs at the library.  This group of Chicago-area presenters had stuff that I have not heard of before and I really learned a lot.  From adding hand motions to “Hickory Dickory Dock” to singing a clean up song for getting your scarves back in the bag, I was furiously scribbling notes and singing along.  What was even more fantastic was that the music and developmental theory was given for each story time age group. In case you missed this session as it was full, the handouts are on the PLA conference web site.  In addition, the presenters have even…

Live Blogging

Creating Competencies for Staff #pla2014

If a small stand-alone library with a very modest budget can create competencies and find/create training opportunities so their staff can all succeed, then we can too, right? Not convinced? OK, how about if the director of the library freely offers every single piece of work they did? Now we’re talking. You need a few things in place, according to Penny Albert from the Ephrata Public Library in Pennsylvania. You need buy-in from all of your stakeholders, clear policies and procedures, and a realistic timeline, but mostly what you need is the will to do it. And as to that, Penny says, “We are educational institutions but we don’t educate our employees.” That seems like a crazy way to do business. So, we can all go to Guerrilla Librarian and get to work.

Blogger Amy Koester

Tinker with Technology! #pla2014

Tinker is a group of librarians in the Chicagoland area who, after learning that they were all experimenting with open-ended tech play programs at their libraries, formed a network with meetups to share their experiences. Six Tinker members were at PLA to share some examples of their successful programs for tinkering with technology with kids and teens. All of these programs, in three categories, are available in detail on their handouts: Animation and Film Making Stop-motion animation Pencil animation 90 Second Newbery Robotics Artbots WeDo Mindstorms Art Meets Tech Light Painting

Live Blogging

author breakfast #pla2014

The author breakfast this morning, although early, was a good time.  Pictured above are Jason Chin, Anne Ursu, and Rainbow Rowell.  These authors love libraries, librarians, and books!  When you have a chance to go to a conference, take advantage of these author events; you might connect with a book in a new way, or learn about someone you’ve not heard of before.  Anne Ursu said something I think we can all support, “Nobody loves a book like a kid loves a book”