WAPL Wowza Indeed
I am just back today from our annual WI Association of Public Libraries (WAPL) spring conference and I am inspired! The variety of programs and wealth of information; the breaks that gave us all plenty of time to connect, reconnect and schmooze; the central location at a facility that was not too big, not too small but just right really made it a pleasure.
Our revitalized Youth Services Section (YSS) really put out a a great raft of programs: an award winning team of doctor and librarian shared their collaboration to put books into the hands of babies. Great facts and insights and poignant stories made "Books Build Better Brains" a template and a motivator for becoming more involved in well baby visits - library partnerships. At the same time another program based on knowledge gained at PLA described Exploration Station an hour long class that involves preschool children and their caregivers in hands-on math, science and writing.
A panel on using technology with kids had the audience discovering great content to let kids loose on including Zimmertwins, Xtranorml, Wordle, Make Believe Comix, kids creating book trailers and teens piling into the building to work on laptop labs. Another panel (I was part of it!) delved into easy ways to stretch budget and staff time by developing DIY and stealth programs. A swap of ideas on elementary aged program ideas produced not only great new ideas but support and solutions for programming conundrums . An exploration of summer reading outreach programs rounded out the YSS offerings.
Other programs not sponsored by YSS were just as informative for my work: a discussion of the process of combining a youth services and adult services service desk into one to address budget cuts; websites to be aware of; African American body image in youth literature; and tips on successful presentations and panels at conferences (wonder how ours did!). Thrown into the mix was participation in the YSS board meeting and a chance to chat informally with our state's new Youth consultant Tessa Michaelson Schmidt. Members continued the conversation over meals and later at parties and in hallways.
And, blessedly, there were no programs about summer reading programs - a pet peeve of mine is when every darn conference has to keep flogging SLP. When I leave a conference with more ideas taken than the number I came to share, I know my time was well spent. Kudos to my WAPL colleagues who planned this conference. Ya done good!