Tag Archives: MLA

CMLE Scholarship: MLA 2017

This guest post was written by Violet Fox, Metadata Librarian at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University.

The theme for the 2017 Minnesota Library Association’s Annual Conference was “Radical Librarianship,” and I couldn’t have been more excited! I was excited to hear from library workers not only about the great things that libraries do for our users, but also how we as a profession should strive to recognize and address our shortcomings.

I was delighted to be able to present alongside some of my favorite library folks: Hannah Buckland (Leech Lake Tribal College), Tina Gross (St. Cloud State University), and Jessica Schomberg (Minnesota State University, Mankato). In our session, we talked about how centralization in cataloging often prevents libraries from responding flexibly to the needs of their users, and encouraged all librarians to argue for the value of local control in our standards and vocabularies in order to provide respectful and responsive metadata.

A number of MLA 2017 presentations gave me ample material to reflect on. Standouts included Safiya Umoja Noble’s session on how increasing reliance on opaque algorithms results in upholding societal inequity and oppression, as well as an interesting session from librarians at Dakota County Library (Christie Schultz and Lori Veldhuis) on their valuable project to make their world language collection more accessible and attractive to patrons.

Alhough I don’t do usability testing or user surveying in my job, the most exciting session I attended was “UX is Social Change: the Feminist Impact of User Experience Work” by librarians at Metropolitan State University (Christine Larson, Jennifer DeJonghe) and Hennepin County Library (Amy Luedtke, Tony Hirt). The presenters talked about how they use feminist principles within their work, in part by centering patron experiences and recognizing that patrons have knowledge and experience that we don’t. They also discussed their efforts to recruit UX participants intentionally, and acknowledged that it can be uncomfortable to have one’s design ideas critiqued. I very much appreciated the presenters’ unapologetic embrace of “disciplined empathy” in their work, and their presentation encouraged me to find ways to do the same in my own day-to-day work.

I’m grateful for CMLE’s support to attend MLA 2017 and I’d like to encourage Minnesota library colleagues to attend and present at next year’s conference!

Do you want to attend a conference or take part in some other professional development? Apply for a scholarship from CMLE today!

Quick MLA Recap

At CMLE we are big fans of going to conferences! You get the chance to meet people, to learn new ideas, and to connect with others who do what you do in your library. So it was great to go to the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) Annual conference in Rochester.

Have you listened to our podcast about attending and presenting at conferences? Check out #209 and get some info about planning your own conference experiences!

The checking in process was fast and smooth! It’s always fun to go to conferences where things are so nicely organized. You can focus on the fun things to do, the sessions to attend, and all the interesting people you are meeting. And there were so many good things to do here – we were jam packed from start to finish!

It’s always valuable to attend conferences for your own professional development. The library profession is a fast-moving one, and the skills we used five years ago – or even last year – are not a match for the needs of today and into the future. Continuing education of all types is a must for providing good service. Conferences not only do that, they make it fun to meet people who like the same interesting things you do! (And I promise you: there is ALWAYS something interesting under discussion at conferences!)

The photo above is a somewhat blurry look at the session “Radical All Along: A Historical Look at Minnesota Librarianship.” Yes, libraries have always been exciting places to learn new things. (And if the current Minnesota Public Library Commission would like to resume their past practice of performing interpretative dances – there was popular acclaim for it in the session!)

Other sessions included:

  • Minitex: Where Libraries are Strong, Staff are Good-Looking, and Patrons are above Average
  • Let’s Talk about Serving Patrons with Dementia
  • Would Trader Joe’s Hire You? Lessons from the Best Retailers
  • Wikipedia as Community Organizing
  • Libraries: Fighting Childhood Food Insecurity Year-Round for a Better Future!
  • Planting the Seeds of Learning: The Library as a Nature Based Learning System
  • RA Crutches
  • When home Won’t Let You Stay: Telling the Story of Refugees Living in Minnesota
  • Blinded Me With Science!: STEAM-based Programs for Toddlers and Preschoolers

And there were so many more great ones! The problem was picking just one session to attend at a time; but that is a pretty high-class problem to have at an event.

We were in Rochester’s civic center, so the public library was easily accessible. Several of us toured through the building – and it’s always fun to see how different libraries arrange things. This library brings in a lot of great visuals, along with an interesting collection of materials, to provide service to their local community members. And they were very patient with the flocks of visiting library people who stopped in to ask questions and admire their stuff!

Conferences are not all networking and educational sessions – there is always time for fun! A fun thing at this conference is the silent auction, with a huge array of things you can bid on – library related and just fun. Yes, I did bid on this Nancy Pearl action figure; no, I did not win it. Drat. But last year I did win the wonderful bear, Orville, who became our Official Office Bear! (You can find his image all over our website – he’s a natural-born star.)

And there are always plenty of fun things to do outside the conference itself.  The planning committee gave a lot of useful information on fun places to go, things to see, groups going to different restaurants, and other good suggestions.  This was my first trip to Rochester, and it was really fun to check out their skyway and subway systems, trudge their walking trails (even in some rain!), and to enjoy meeting library people at all kinds of different restaurants! Attending conferences is educational in so many ways; and getting to know a new place is just one of the valuable things you learn!

This was just a quick, obviously incomplete look at attending a conference. Did you go to MLA? Share your stories with us! Are you thinking about attending another conference? We have scholarships for CMLE members!

Go! Learn! Try new things! Meet interesting people! Libraries are great, and so are library conferences!

Need a scholarship for ITEM or MLA?

During this busy fall season, don’t forget that there are some excellent library conferences approaching! And CMLE has scholarships available to help with some of the cost of attendance! Read more about our scholarships on our page. New this year is the ability to apply for up to $300 worth of scholarships to help cover your expenses!

The Minnesota Library Association has their annual conference coming up on Oct. 5-6th in Rochester. The theme this year is Radical Librarianship which they describe as “the power of libraries to provide access to the truth, strengthen our community voices, create opportunity for exploration and innovation, and assist our patrons to build a better future.” Learn more about the conference and register here.

The Information and Technology Educators of Minnesota (ITEM) also has their fall conference in early October! From October 5-7th in Brooklyn Park learn how to be “Future Ready for the 21st Century!” Keynote speakers at the conference will be Duchess Harris on Friday morning and Kelly Barnhill on Saturday morning. Access the schedule and register here.

Plus, if you make it to either conference you can connect with Mary (who will be at MLA) or Angie (who will be at ITEM) and we would love to see you there! Let us know if you’ll be there and would like to get together!

And don’t be shy – apply for a scholarship! We really do want to assist our members in their continuing education and professional networking, and attending conferences can be a great start! Apply today!

Deadline August 14 for MLA Award Nominations

Do you know anyone who’s gone above and beyond to impact libraries in the last year?

Each year MLA recognizes members who make outstanding contribution to library services. Help MLA recognize contributions to improved library services and intellectual freedom by nominating a person or group for one of the following awards:

William G. Asp Distinguished Career Award
MLA Above & Beyond Award
Lars Steltzner Intellectual Freedom Award

Nominating is easy with the convenient online nomination form. The deadline for nominations is August 14, 2017. Nominate quickly and often!

Make a nomination/Read criteria and eligibility

See past recipients

Minnesota Libraries are in need of radical support in 2017

“Dear Minnesota Library Supporter,

This year the annual Minnesota Library Association conference will be held in Rochester, MN on October 5-6. We expect the conference to be attended by hundreds of librarians, trustees, exhibitors, and Friends of Libraries from across Minnesota.

This year’s conference theme is Radical Librarianship – the power of libraries to provide access to the truth, strengthen our community voices, create opportunity for exploration and innovation, and assist our patrons to build a better future.

The Minnesota Library Foundation’s mission is “to benefit the community by raising and distributing funds to enhance the services and increase public awareness of Minnesota libraries.” Some of the ways that the money raised by the Silent Auction has been given back to the greater Minnesota library community have included:

  • helping libraries recover from disasters
  • sponsoring the MILE Leadership Institute
  • supporting the Minnesota Book Awards
  • providing small grants to libraries across the state

Continue reading Minnesota Libraries are in need of radical support in 2017