I have only begun to digest all that I learned at PLA. First and foremost, my favorite part of the conference is the informal discussions with other library people between programs, at the exhibits or even line for some Voodoo Doughnuts. I love that they love library service as much as I do. The enthusiasm for customer service, new technology or even a cool program is palpable. In my normal day to day work, I wonder if many of us out there forget why we became librarians. Conferences are an excellent way to rejuvenate that inner library geek. It is at once exhausting and exhilarating to participate at PLA. And of course who doesn’t want a snappy orange tote bag?
Other great part of the conference was the use of Twitter as a communication tool. As I have stated previously, I thought Twitter was this side of ridiculous. Yeah to the public librarians that used it in meetings I couldn’t be at. This stream of conscious type of communication brought a real perspective to the conference and I added a few more people to my follow list just because they were so interesting and of course this led me to some excellent articles and blogs. Again, it is just another way of plugging into a larger group of enthusiastic librarians and listen in on the random ideas and even frustrations of library service. If you couldn’t be there take a look at some of the comments under the hash tag #PLA10.
I am still writing up my notes from some programs I particularly want to think and write about. What I noticed from all the interesting ideas are how they all stretch our concept of what a public library does and is. Of course we are about books and information, but the library has such an interesting role in society for everyone in a community from the smallest baby to the oldest senior. As we implement these new ideas, be prepared for where that will take our concept for the future. Strategic planning or even building expansions are going to be affected by this whole idea of what a “library” is for your community.
Stay tuned as my brain continues to process this conference!