That Conference Stuff

Lunch lady-ing with luncheon speaker Jarrett Krosczka
For those of you following my tweets this week, you obviously heard that it has been an amazing state conference for us here in Wisconsin.  Our dynamo President, Paula Ganyard, asked her conference committee to think outside the box and, boy and girl, did they ever!

Our theme was "Play! Create! Innovate!" Besides an amazing line-up of programs and speakers. we had pretty much non-stop makering and demonstrations on makerspace mightiness, stations of creativity (coolers stuffed with "stuff" to create), shorter program times to allow for more meet-ups and plenty of fun throughout the day to engage everyone who attended.

Banana chant
We held our first-in-Wisconsin Guerrilla Storytine (hi Cory!) with 100 people attending and 15-20 ninjas popping up to share songs, chants, ideas, books, fingerplays, action rhymes and tips for storytime mightiness (all ably hosted by Anna and Sara - who also collaborated on a fabulous session on social media uberness..all done in gifs!). A report with pictures will be coming to Storytime Underground soon.

Battledecks champ with trophy
makered while we competed
One of our keynote speakers Sergio Dogliani embraced us and not only spoke but attended sessions, played in the band at our Foundation "Librarians Rock" fundraiser, was a Battledecks judge and spent time not just talking to leaders at WLA but to librarian attendees. We had a Banned Books read in. Battledecks. Pub Crawl. Yoga. Business meetings and learning everywhere.

I re-connected with tons of colleagues, met lots of new folks and spent time chatting, planning, blue skying, listening, learning and most of all laughing. It may have been the best conference I have ever attended just for the sheer force of smiles and positivity going around everywhere. It made me appreciate how re-energized conferences make me.

And a thought struck me. As the gift-giving season looms for those struggling to find the money for association/conference expenses, maybe an idea might be to ask for a present of conference registration or annual dues.  Might be more useful than another four pairs of socks, kitchen doodad and gift certificate to B&N. And it might get you closer to that place that fills the well of your enthusiasm and IRL connecting!


  1. #WLA13 was fantastic! I loved it and brought home many inspirational ideas. The energy levels were wonderfully high! I am looking forward to the Guerilla Storytime post and envisioning the next Guerilla event. :)

  2. Thanks for the kind words Marge! Great idea about Christmas gifts; I think we should suggest that to the membership.

  3. I do not envy the task before next year's conference committee, trying to figure out how to follow up this year's event. I could sense that it was one of those "moments" when everything aligns correctly, everyone is in the right mood, and everyone gets something amazing out of it. You can't put the lightning in a bottle, but hopefully a lot of the positives will carry on into future conferences.