Flexing My Library Muscles

This week started with the North Carolina Community College Learning Resources Association annual conference in Wilmington, NC. I went to school in Wilmington so it was nice to be in a familiar place. I also enjoy this particular conference because it’s only for NC community college librarians so every session was relevant and I got to catch up with some friends from across the state. The conference started with a short welcome by the president of the host college followed by a keynote from Cal Shepard (State Librarian at the State Library of North Carolina). Both of them mentioned my presentation by name during their talks! It was pretty funny, all the people in the room that knew me and my title were giving me looks.

Speaking of people I knew, not only did I get to see my library friends, but I also had family at the conference. My Aunt Barbara is a part time librarian at Cape Fear CC and was able to attend the conference. It was neat to have a family member there, certainly a unique experience! My presentation was in the first slot after the keynote, and I was a bit frustrated with the conference planners. I left a minute or two early to make sure I could set up and got to my assigned room to find it locked. Thankfully my aunt was able to track down a maintenance person to open the room. Obviously, the computer wasn’t running and by the time I had my slides downloaded it was already time to start. There were no instructions on  how to use the projector and I was worried about timing so I started without them projected and turned my monitor out to the room.

I had great attendance. I didn’t count but I know I made 30 handouts which I ran out of, and I had about 10 people standing at the back of the room. I actually had a nightmare two nights before the conference that I couldn’t get my slides to work and I told that story as an ice breaker and to give myself time to recover. One of the librarians from Cape Fear was able to get my slides projected by the 3rd or 4th slide and I think I handled it as well as I could have. Once I got past the beginning hiccups I was pleased with the rest of the presentation, but feel as though I could have done better if I hadn’t started that way.

My presentation was titled “Flexing Your Library Muscles”. In hindsight I would have added a subtitle like “Outreach across the campus” or something similar. The description I wrote was “This presentation identifies how to use your strengths, be flexible, and stretch yourself as a librarian in a community college library. These skills will be paired with concrete examples of how each skill has been used by librarians at Cleveland Community College to enhance the services provided to our patrons. Participants will leave this presentation with strategies for improving outreach to students and faculty, enhancing in person and online library instruction, and partnering with other campus departments.” You can find my slides here  and the conference website has my handout document.

I left time at the end for people to pair & share using their handout to discuss ideas for things they could do in their own library or that they already do. The room burst into chaos so I thought that was a good sign. Several people shared their experiences and asked questions. My co-worker that attended told me it’s one of the most useful presentations she’s ever been to at a library conference (and that includes multiple ALA and ACRL conferences). That was really nice to hear. I also got a shoutout on Twitter from someone I didn’t know personally that said “great presentation”, so I feel good about the whole thing. I’m keeping an eye out for calls for proposals at upcoming conferences. I really enjoy presenting.

The rest of the conference was good. I had several great conversations about library and non-library things with new and old friends. I picked up some ideas for eBooks. Unfortunately, I started the day with a sore throat and ended it with a worse sore throat, canceled plans with friends for that night, and the inability to attend the second half day of the conference. I’m still feeling rough today. I had to come in yesterday as I had two Psychology classes scheduled in the morning that no one else could have taught. The classes went well. Both of them ended before their class session and every single student in both classes stayed after being dismissed to look for resources or ask questions. I’ve been using the Habits Pro app to record one positive moment from each work day, and that was definitely it yesterday!

As a final note, I’m a huge blog fan and I love Google Reader. Check out this article by John Paul Titlow for a great perspective on the loss of Google Reader.

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