MLA: From Children’s Librarian to Information Scientist

As the Director of the Hibbing Public Library, I have spent much of this year as Construction Manager. So it was nice to take
a break and join the library world again at the Minnesota Library
Association Annual Conference in St. Paul.

I listened to, and was inspired by, all three of the keynote speakers mentioned by other bloggers already. I
also attended business meetings and sessions about the legislature, the
state library, and shared resources and services (like Minitex).  But I also chose some sessions to refresh and stimulate my inner librarian.

I attended two Thursday October 4 sessions related to the updated Every Child Ready to Read@your library (2nd edition, ECRR2).  

D, 11a-12noon, “Singing, Talking, Reading, Writing, Playing: ways the five
practices support early literacy” with Saroj Ghoting, children’s librarian and early childhood literacy consultant.

and Session F, 3:45-4:45p, “Talk Sing Read Write Play: Storytime, the Next
Generation” by Hennepin County Library staff-members of their Storytime
Workgroup.   Best practices and great

the first five years and you change everything”
.  This sentence, from a video ad campaign, tells all who might question the value of public libraries why children’s services are so important.

These workshops also exemplify why it is important to share resources and give children’s librarians time to

five practices (singing, talking, reading, writing, playing)
demonstrated in these sessions are
different from the six principals advocated in the first edition of
ECRR.  The five practices are much simpler for the
average parent to understand and initiate with their children.  The six
principals were important to educators and librarians but the practices
are simple, easy to remember suggestions for parents to use daily.
 Saroj also has a helpful chant based on the acronymn STAR to help
adults remember this important elements. STAR POWER™: Sing Talk And Read Play On and Write for Easier Reading™ (See also STAR POWER at

two sessions above, along with Dawn Heisel,  reminded me that “in my
heart, I am a children’s librarian”.  I went to the sessions so that I
could bring some useful information back to the Hibbing Public Library’s
children’s librarian but found myself inspired to advocate for a new
round of workshops for all public and school library staff and teachers
in the Arrowhead region.  And I did bring ideas back to Hibbing PL: we have already ordered and
received ECRR2 brochures and bookmarks from ALA so that April will have be able to share the five practices with parents at  the Birth & Baby Fair on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Hibbing Memorial Building.

Then there the other extreme of my personality…
The scientific side of my brain led me to the following session on Friday morning, October 5:

“In Search of the Killer App: practical ways to publish, harvest and use
Lindked Data” with Sarah Weeks (TS/St. Olaf) and Sara Ring (Digitization &
Metadata Training Coordinator, Minitex). 
Doesn’t Ring’s job title say it all? 
This was very academic stuff but still extremely important.  I had no idea how much underlying information
was coded (and how much more needs to be!) in internet websites and their
subjects (people, places, things…).  Use
RDF (Resource Description Framework) and URI (Uniform Resource Indicators) to
tag data so that it is Unique, Searchable, and Standardized and use
Relationships (triples: subject->predicate->object) to link data between
all the enormous variety of information sources found on the internet.  If done consistently and thoroughly,
searching will allow you to link to all data on a given topic.  Whew!  

Thank you to ALS
for offering scholarships to library staff in our region ($200 each).  MLA is an important event for each of us and
our region had excellent representation at the conference.  We will also be well represented in MLA with
the election of Jim Weikum and Carla Powers to leadership positions.

~Ginny Richmond, Hibbing Public Library