by Sally Peterangelo, Mountain Iron Public Library Director

First of all, thank you for the Scholarship to attend the Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference held October 10-11 in St. Cloud. I’m so grateful and appreciative for this opportunity to continue learning, sharing, networking, and listening to so many great ideas from the various presenters.

I started the conference by attending the Headliner event, “All Facts Considered: A conversation with an NPR Librarian.” Kee Malesky has worked three decades with the NPR library team. She spoke about her career with NPR and I enjoyed listening to her story about how she ended up with NPR. She was funny, interesting and has written two books which I plan to add to our library in the near future. She was joined on stage with Sasha Aslanian who works for the MPR. Sasha interviewed Kee during this headliner. It was great way to kick off the conference.

I attended a variety of workshops. My first was “Things in a Flash: 40 in 60 Ipad Apps and Tips.” LeAnn Suchy packed an hour with all kinds of tips and tricks for using your Ipad. The presenter was excellent and shared many of her favorite apps and many useful tips for your Ipad.

My favorite class of the entire conference was “Conducting Change: leading in a Mindful Tune.” Presenters: Jennifer Sippel and John Daniels. They covered so much in such a short amount of time. I truly believe this could’ve been a one day workshop. It was all about being mindful with staff and your patrons. With so much change happening, she taught how to  adapt and work with people’s strengths and weaknesses and how to make it work. It was all about dealing with change on a daily basis. She had practical exercises, so many helpful hints, and book suggestions. I took so much from this one hour. As soon as I returned I bought several of the books she recommended for our collection. Not only does this help dealing with staff, it really gave great tips for dealing with patrons as well. It was packed with psychology tips, breathing exercises, listening skills, and just being mindful. This was a positive approach to improvement by bringing awareness to learning each other’s strengths and working together for great outcomes.

I wrapped up the first day and attended the “Adult Services and Programming for Aging Populations.”I felt this would be very valuable to attend as our library serves both young and old and so many workshops are all based on children’s programming and the older patron services seem to be neglected. I was inspired by the ideas the panels shared and services they provide at Hennepin County Library. I came out of this session realizing there is more we can offer and it gave great ideas.

Friday, October 11:

“Roll with the Changes: A Percussion based Experiential Approach to change Management.”

Outstanding session filled with energy, enthusiasm, drumming, and beyond. What a positive exciting workshop to begin the day. Again, I left with so many ideas and learned so much. Jam packed with terrific ways of coping with change.

“Grants and Libraries: Leveraging Resources to Strengthen Services.” I was thrilled to get so many handouts and learn so much about grant writing by presenter Jennifer Nelson. She was excellent and gave so many outstanding do’s and don’t’s for writing grants. She was very well organized and had so many useful references and book suggestions. I’m so grateful for this one hour. I’m hoping to tackle grant writing and she gave me the necessary tools of the trade.

I attended the “Small and Rural Library Round Table and SSPin.” (split them up)

The Friday Headliner, “Surviving the Public: Customer Service the Unshelved Way” was worth the entire conference.

I ended with the workshop “Reaching the Reluctant Teen Reader.”

So, in a nutshell, I went to a technology class, mindfulness, change, Aging patron ideas, Teenager, Rural libraries, grant writing, etc. I tried to use this conference and attend a variety of topics. Working at a small library such as Mountain Iron, we do it all: cataloging, ordering, programming, child and adult services and beyond. I tried to soak up as much new information so I could bring it back and use it to continue moving forward in a forever changing world.

This conference was very well organized. I had a chance to network with others at break out sessions, meals, etc. I drove home with my head spinning of how I can apply all that I have learned. Thank you. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity for continuing education.