ASSOCIATES (2009, November, v. 16, no. 2)

Library Association/Conference Information

If You Have An Opportunity, Attend A Conference Or Two

Marcia Semerau
Senior Library Technician
Duluth Public Library
Duluth MN

Branch Out: Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Held in Willmar, MN, on August 4-5, 2009

Branch Out was a conference designed by and for library paraprofessionals and support staff. It was designed to bring library staff from Minnesota and surrounding states together to explore career development and to provide networking opportunities.

We began each morning with “table talks” over pastries, fruit, juice and coffee. Our conversations centered around the following topics:

I attended the following sessions:

During lunch both days Mark Ranum, Legislative Chair of the Minnesota Library Association (MLA), spoke about the legislative “process” and did a Q&A. He made it interesting and understandable.

I took part in the SSPiN (Support Staff and Paraprofessional Interests Section of MLA) meeting.

The last workshop on Tuesday, Minnesota Crime Wave, allowed everyone the chance to relax, laugh, learn, ask questions of a panel of mystery writers – Carl Brookins, Ellen Hart, and William Kent Krueger.

Two days after returning, there was a Friday morning staff meeting where I shared my experiences from the conference. A number of staff members were interested in the handouts from the “Write it right” workshop.


Minnesota Library Association: Challenges Choices Change

Annual conference, held in St. Cloud, MN, on October 14-16, 2009

I went to the MLA conference on Wednesday because I wanted to hear the luncheon keynote. Cathy Wurzer spent six years researching, writing, producing and shooting a documentary for public television. She also wrote a book based on her experiences titled: “Tales from the road: Highway 61.”

I walked through the exhibit hall and spoke to several vendors, decided whether I needed to bid on any of the silent auction items, and visited with several people at the professional tables. I bumped into a former co-worker and took the opportunity to catch up on what’s been happening with her.

I attend two sessions:

By attending this day only, I unfortunately missed several of the business meetings (MLA, SSPiN and TSS). My interest – I was on the ballot for the Technical Services Section. I learned earlier this week that I was elected as the Chair-Elect. This is a three-year commitment – Chair-Elect, Chair and Past Chair. I look forward to this challenge and working more closely with our state association.

My experiences have always been great – meeting people, learning so much from the presenters, networking, eating too much, not sleeping enough (but well worth it). So, take a chance on a wonderful experience and attend a conference.