Friday, November 20, 2009

Fall Conference 2009

Always a great time to put faces with names and to do something totally different than I normally do at work, which is work with computers. I love hosting Para Sessions and seeing who attends, it shows me how well the Para Board knows the library community at large to see all the attendees at our sessions.

I enjoy the fast pace from setting up on Wednesday to closing shop on Friday LATE afternoon. Thankfully this is only once a year, I could not put that much into a 3 day timeframe much more often.

I know the Para’s always seem to be doing so much at Fall Conference and we do because we want our Section known for giving back to the NLA Association, and our members. It has been fun doing the Scavenger Hunt the past 3 years, collecting, setting up, giving out hints to participants, and handing our prizes.

Being a Para Officer is time consuming but extremely rewarding so when you’re called next year to run for office DO NOT Hesitate, say yes, you could become a part of a very special, dedicated, and hard working groups of Paras!

See you at the Para Spring meeting, March 18, 2010.

Janet Greser, Para Newsletter Editor, Keynote

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NLA/NEMA 2009 Fall Conference Writeup

NLA/NEMA Fall Conference this year was great! It was wonderful seeing so many of you there. I hope that any of you who weren't able to be there will get to attend a conference in the future. This was my fourth conference, and I always learn so much.

All four of the Paraprofessional-sponsored sessions went very well.

For her session, One Book For Nebraska Kids, Sally Snyder recruited her colleague Julie Osnes, the Youth Services Librarian at Wayne Public Library, to help her present the information. Pat Coshow from Louisville Public Schools also joined in and provided a good account of her experience. Let me tell you, that room was packed. The headcount was 62 attendees. The presentation was full of good advice and stories of how the program impacted the kids who participated.

Nora Hillyer's session, Online Reference Question Protocol, was also well-attended and well-received. Members of the audience sent her questions for her to answer live, and so the techniques were demonstrated as well as described. A number of people in the audience were using laptops or cell phones to follow along and participate. I think everyone had fun and learned useful, neat things. The headcount was 45 attendees.

Greg Sunderman's session, Creating Video Tutorials Using Screen-recorders, was dynamic and engaging, and his techniques could apply not just to library tutorials but to instructional videos in nearly any field. He showcased several different types of hardware and software and discussed the relative merits of each, then created a video tutorial using Camtasia to show how easy it is. He stressed that the key is content, and that you must plan your tutorials carefully and write good scripts so they flow well. The headcount was 46 attendees.

I didn't get to attend Marcia Stewart's session, Genealogy in the Public Library, because it was at the same time as Greg's session. But I hear that it was great. Janet Greser, who did attend, said she got a lot of good genealogy advice she'd never heard before. The headcount was 34 attendees.

In addition to the Para sessions, I got to attend both the keynote and the Advanced Google Search session by Ben Softness of Google. He showed a lot of ways to refine Google searches to get better results, neat tricks we can teach our patrons.

I also got to participate in some excellent discussions at the Technical Services Discussion Forum (at conference) and at the Library Camp II Unconference (the day before conference).

If you're interested in a session you couldn't attend, many of the presentations and handouts are available on the conference website.

When I wasn't attending sessions, I spent a lot of time at the Para Booth in the exhibits hall. Our Fall/Halloween-themed Scavenger Hunt went well. I think everyone had a great time visiting with the vendors who harbored our hunt items, and twenty people won cash prizes. Thanks to all who participated.

At the Paraprofessional Section luncheon/fall general meeting on October 30, I was inaugurated as chair for the next year, and Marguerite Miller was inaugurated as vice-chair. I am pleased and honored to serve. Please let me know if there is anything you want the Paraprofessional Section to do for you or for the membership. Contact me or any other member of the board with your ideas or if you'd like to get involved.