Posted in PLA Conference

A little encouragement

I was recently involved in the Youth Services Development Institute here in Wisconsin. The Institute provides professional development and networking for Wisconsin public library staff youth in smaller public libraries.

While chatting with the institute participants, I learned that one person in particular had a goal of attending the Public Library Association (PLA) conference someday. We chatted about why she wanted to go to the conference and some possible avenues of securing funding to do so.

Fast forward a few months and I saw an announcement come through that PLA was offering scholarships to attend the national conference in Nashville in 2020. Scholarships would be awarded in one of three categories: 1) early career librarianship scholarship, 2) library support staff scholarship, and 3) library school student scholarships. I forwarded this information on to the graduates of the Youth Services Development Institute hoping someone would take advantage of this opportunity.

Then lo and behold in my email is a message from the institute graduate who had a goal of attending PLA. She thanked me for sending on the scholarship information and mentioned that she had applied for a scholarship. I wished her luck and really hope she gets it! Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement so be sure to reach out to someone considering taking that next professional leap. Let them know you believe in them.

More information on the PLA Scholarships.

Posted in PLA Conference

PLA Registration Opens Soon

Public Library Association 2020 Conference Logo Nashville Feb. 25-29

Mark your calendars for September 18, 2019, when registration opens for the PLA 2020 Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The PLA conference is for public library professionals, with over 100 education programs, speakers, author lunches, networking opportunities, and a large exhibits hall.

PLA personal members get exclusive access to the early bird discount. Visit for more information.

Posted in Accessibility, PLA Conference

You never know…

When I approached the microphone following a PLA Conference session on making your library more accessible, I never thought what I would have to say would actually have an impact.

The session on accessibility that I attended at PLA was very thorough and talked about how a library has made their space and programs more accessible to users. I was glad to see at least one session on this topic at PLA, but I think there should be more. Nineteen percent of the US population has a disability and our nation is aging with 10,000 people turning 65 every day. Based on the number of attendees at this session, it is clearly a topic people are interested in.

Back to what I said at the microphone. During the Q&A period, I went up to the mic and thanked the presenters for providing the session’s content and then I let everyone know about this amazing conference called the ADA Symposium that is offered every year, with it being hosted in Pittsburgh this June. I shared how I was the only librarian at the ADA Symposium in 2017 and I thought more of us should be there.

Three months later…

I’m in line at a Downtown Pittsburgh hotel waiting to check into my hotel room for the ADA Symposium. I’m telling someone in line that I’m a librarian and it’s my second time attending the conference. And then this person says, “Were you at PLA?” And I said, “Yes…” You will recall that in 2017, I was the only librarian at this conference of 850 attendees. She goes on to say that she saw me at PLA and that I inspired her to attend the ADA Symposium. She also brought her colleague along! What was once a conference with just one librarian, there were now three.

I took this picture of Sarah (below) who is the librarian that saw me get up to the mic in Philadelphia at PLA and was now next to me in Pittsburgh for the ADA Symposium. Sarah, you inspired me to write about this and the importance of sharing information and knowledge.

I’m so glad Sarah was there and I hope to see more librarians at the ADA Symposium in the future. Mark your calendars for June 16-19, 2019 in Grapevine – Dallas, TX. More more information, visit

Sarah, Northbrook Public Library (IL), at ADA Symposium in Pittsburgh

Posted in Outreach, PLA Conference, Planning, Program

MakMo: The LA County Library’s MakerMobiles

I’m almost done blogging about PLA 2018! Here you will learn about LA County Library’s MakerMobiles.

Program Description: Want to offer STEM programming but don’t have room for a makerspace? Thinking about how your library can go mobile? Learn about LA County Library’s new MakMo makermobiles, which offer STEM and maker programming to 87 libraries and a service area spanning 3,000 square miles. Session highlights include detailed descriptions of the vehicle and equipment, lessons learned rolling out this new mobile, service, and sample maker programs to take back to your own library.


Leticia Polizzi, Adult Services Manager
Palos Verdes Library District, Palos Verdes, CA

Jesse Walker-Lanz, Adult & Digital Services Administrator
County of Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA


PPT – MakMo, FactSheet – MakMo

My Notes:

Budget: The start-up budget total was $250,000 including vehicle, equipment and staffing.

Team: Get your procurement team/purchasing department on board right away

Vehicle: Patrons don’t go on the vehicles. Staff only go on to get materials. Maker activities happen outside of the vehicle.

Staffing: a library staff member drives the vehicle and doesn’t need a special license.

Equipment: kids can make stuff and take it home (make dos). Have Ozobots, 3D printing (very popular), circuits – Little Bits and Snap Circuits, robotics – Lego Mindstorms and Cubelets, building – KEVA planks (also great for de-stressing during exam week). See the factsheet for more equipment.

Community promotion: Created promo material to say the MakMo was coming. Also went to library grand openings with MakMo. See promo and schedule.




Posted in PLA Conference, Staff Training

HOW TO Supercharge your Staff Training in Four Easy Steps

Jeromy Wilson, CEO and Founder, Niche Academy HOW TO Supercharge your Staff Training in Four Easy Steps
Quickly learn how to increase staff productivity and morale in 4 immediately actionable steps. We’ll talk about motivators, simplifying the process, learning styles and more. You will walk away ready to implement or reinvigorate your library staff training.

I attended a 20-minute session on staff training at PLA. I missed the first couple of minutes but I think I caught most of the talk.

  1. Make it measurable. Add training to yearly goals.
  2. Disseminate: find a way to get info out there. Break info into chunks, like 5-minute segments. Offer a flexible learning environment or offer an online option. Offer a flexible timetable as people learn differently (visual, auditory, tactile). Do they learn better in a group or on their own?
  3. Calculate what is going on. Who has taken what and who understands the information? Offer quizzes. Talk to people-get feedback. Was the training helpful? Too much or too little? Really listen to what they need and then act on what you’ve learned.
  4. Ameliorate: make something bad, better. Take feedback and put it into action. Simplify and shorten sessions. Keep your PowerPoints fresh and update images/content.