Emily’s ARSL 2014 Annual Conference Highlights

Many of the presenters posted the presentation slides and documents at http://arsl.info/2014/09/2014-conference-handouts-presentations/ 


One of the better sessions I attended was entitled “Tablet Slinging Librarians: Using Tablets to Improve Library Services”. The session was presented by Leah Kulikowski who had been the public library director at Wamego, KS. Wamego won the best small library in Kansas award due to the use of tablets to improve library services. One of the purposes for which they use tablets is to mount a tablet to use as a touch screen together with a children’s catalog. Touch screens are intuitive for most children and size makes it a great space saver in the children’s area.  They also use the tablets for mobile circulation in the library and offsite at events. Leah uses a Bluetooth barcode scanner with the tablet to conduct off-desk circ. They also use it for reference purposes when roaming the stacks. I can see pulling up Novellist and helping someone with reader’s advisory. Leah’s library also uses a tablet, with Bluetooth speakers, to access a playlist of children’s songs for storytime as well as a variety of storytime-related apps. The library also uses the tablet to access Square in order to process credit cards: www.squareup.com.


I attended “The Pursuit of Happiness…Through Libraries” which I thought would be something on lifelong learning… Presenter Sharon Morris focused on individual happiness, increasing individual happiness, and ultimately to have a fuller and more productive life—and to be a better employee and co-worker.  Sharon showed this TED video of psychologist Shawn Achor talking about the “Happy Secret to Better Work”:  https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work#t-237563. I encourage you to watch it—the talk is entertaining and thought provoking.


John Chrastka presented “Better Meetings Mean Better Governance” and provided attendees with five tips for running more efficient meetings: 1) Consent agenda; 2) Get board members more involved in the meeting by rotating the responsibility for developing the agenda amongst the board; 3) Hear or accept committee reports from all standing and active ad hoc committees; 4) Tabling an item—don’t hesitate to table an item that needs more study or understanding (unless it is time sensitive); 5) Use the Committee of the Whole- this allows the board to meet together to engage in informal discussion without the need to conduct board business. Ideas from the committee of a whole can eventually be taken up by the board. Open meetings rules still apply.

After listening to Idaho Commission for Libraries staff person Stephanie Bailey-White present on “Routes to Reading: Early Literacy Models that Work in Rural Libraries”, I realized how some states, and libraries, are seriously struggling with early literacy and reading readiness without a lot of resources—and in remote rural settings.  The complete list of their early lit outreach models are at http://libraries.idaho.gov/read-to-me  I’ve pulled out a few which I think might compliment what many are already doing:


Participating librarians provide early literacy information and a free book to each child and his/her family during kindergarten registration.


Come explore a variety of resources that support early learning in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Our cool online Fun with Math and Science gameboard can be found here too.  [SWKLS Librarians had a lot of fun with the science summer reading theme…why not continue to put those elements in your storytimes?]




Participating libraries place Books to Go for lending at Head Start sites, developmental preschools, childcare centers, and home-based childcare locations. Parents then have convenient, continuous access to pre-packaged books and early literacy handouts. [Stephanie talked about this program but I didn’t find it on the Idaho website. It prompted me to think about ways public libraries can partner with local preschools to address early lit needs]