Posted in PLA Conference, Planning, Program

Take this one-question survey for PLA!

Want to help guide the educational programming choices for the PLA 2020 Conference, Feb. 25-29, 2020 in Nashville? Please take this one question survey to let the programming committee know which three issues you’d most like to see addressed in the programming. The survey closes at 11:59 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday, Jan. 23. 

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 Conference, Planning

Imagine the Possibilities

This session, by author Kari Chapin, came highly recommended by the folks that offered the webinar for new PLA attendees.

On every seat in the room. I haven’t filled out my card yet!

She talked about possibility and all the different definitions it had. Here’s the one she settled on:

Possibility: A thing that may be chosen or done out of several possible alternatives. (Source: google)

The following advice was geared toward conference attendees but could be used any day you wish to imagine the possibilities.

Questions to ask yourself today: 

  1. Ask yourself this first thing when you wake up, What is possible for me today? Set an intention. Say to yourself, “Today is going to be a really good day,” and your day will likely be pretty good.
  2. Ask yourself this at the end of your day, What happened today that surprised me?  Who did I help today? Who was helpful to me today?

When networking, think about these things:

  • Identify three areas you’d be really good at talking about (Do puppies count?!)
  • Think of three things you want to know more about
  • The best place to meet people is at the end of a bar or table. They may also be looking for someone to connect with.

Small Talk Tip:

Keep asking questions about the other person. People love to talk about themselves. Where do you work? What do you do there? Where do you live?

Ideal Day Exercise:

What would your ideal day look like? You’d get to make your own choices.

Step 1: Start when you wake up while you are still in bed. Picture everything about your day. What kind of sheets do you have? Who is lying next to you? How do I get to work? What will I have for lunch? (Always a good question.) This exercise will take you through all possibilities. You may even notice what is not there. The example provided was about a client who went through this exercise and she realized she never imagined her husband in any part of her day. I’m not sure how this ended up working out but it sure is interesting to think about.

Step 2: On your way home, do a similar exercise but this time imagine what an ideal personal day would look like. What is possible?

And last, I wrote down a challenge for the day. Think of one area where you could ask for support today.

And now you can read a more official write up of this session featured on

What do you imagine as possible? 

Posted in Conference, Planning

Things to do differently next time

Bring a backpack to wear. Having the weight of exhibit stuff balanced on your shoulders is a must.

Pack a duffel bag to use when you pick up too much stuff from the exhibit hall (because you will even if you didn’t intend to) and want to then check a bag when you get to the airport. I did talk to one person who was Teflon tough and didn’t pick up one item! AH-MAZING.

Empty your re-usable water bottle before going through security. They will either throw it away or you have to go through security again.

Don’t pack almonds in your carry-on. Apparently, these require full inspection by the TSA.

Uber. When you request an Uber, meet at the front entrance of the hotel instead of a side entrance to make pickups easier.

Extra pen. Stash an extra pen or two in your bag so when you sit down at a session you can easily find a pen to start taking notes right away.

Stop pretending you are going to exercise. I always have really good intentions of exercising when I go to a conference and then it rarely happens. I’m always super busy from morning to late at night and way too tired to do anything extra. I could’ve packed one less outfit if I had just been real with myself.

Bring an e-book instead of a paperback. Ugh, when am I going to learn? I could’ve carried one less item had I just downloaded a book. Oh, and don’t bring a backup book to a library conference where you are going to pick up 100 more books you could possibly read on your way home.

Extension cord. Someone on a blog suggested bringing an extension cord because of the need to charge your devices in the hotel room/conference center. Well, I didn’t find the need to use this at all. I used my power bank if my phone charge was running low.

Restaurants. Look up a handful of restaurants you’d like to try ahead of time so you are ready to go when someone says, “Where do you want to eat?”

Take pictures of name badges. Someone told me this on the flight home. With permission, take a picture of people’s name badges if you plan to connect with them later. Then you have an easy way to look up their name and library.

IMG_9808 2
Angela & Angela




Posted in Conference, Planning

Have you ever drank oatmeal?

I hadn’t until this moment.

I packed one of those to-go oatmeal cups to save a little money on dining out. Plus, sometimes I just don’t feel like eating out ONE.MORE.TIME. I heated the water up for the oatmeal in the hotel room coffee pot. I took the water and poured it into the cup provided with the oatmeal. I went to stir my oatmeal and I was, well, without a spoon.

What’s a girl to do? I could wait till I get down to the main hotel lobby where they have a few quick service places and grab a spoon or I could drink the oatmeal while it’s at least a little warmish.

I decided I’d rather drink my oatmeal warm than eat it cold. I used my resourcefulness and took the stir stick from the coffee area in the hotel room and used that to at least stir my oatmeal to incorporate the water.

Let me tell you, drinking oatmeal is not bad. Drinking oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit in it is a little more challenging.


Angela drinking her oatmeal because she forgot a spoon

Posted in Planning, Travel

I made it to Philly!

Well, I made it to Philly, even with the nor’easter on its way. Several colleagues have reported that their flights were canceled and can’t rebook for another day or two. I am so thankful I arrived safe and sound. My first flight was only delayed about 20 minutes which made my connection a little tight. Many schools have already reported closings for tomorrow, Wednesday 3/21/18, and I have seen some museum closings. So far I have just seen a small accumulation of snow but it is very heavy and wet.

I decided to take the SEPTA train into the City Center because A) it was inexpensive ($6.75 one way),  B) it was a 30-minute ride, and C) and the train comes every 30 minutes. It was delayed about 45 minutes or more due to the snow.

I took the SEPTA train (my first experience riding a train solo) to City Center and I got off at the Jefferson Station, which is adjacent to the hotel which is adjacent to the convention center. I was thrilled when I learned these were all together! That means when I go to leave, it’ll be pretty easy to get back to the airport. I overheard some other librarians heading to the same hotel so I asked if I could follow along. They said sure and so about 10 of us made our way to the hotel to check in. Librarians are so friendly.

My roomie and I went and had dinner at an Irish Pub and now we are settling in for the night. Tomorrow is a pretty busy day starting at 9:30am and ending at 9:00pm.

Posted in Conference, Planning, Travel

On my way…hopefully

There has been a lot of weather warnings for Philadelphia. The city is likely going to be hit with a nor’easter. I was hoping I was done with snow for the year. Alas, I have packed my winter boots, hat, gloves, and scarf.

I am a librarian so of course, I did a lot of research on what to pack and what to expect. This is my first national conference so that means I had to scale up what I know from attending the WAPL and WLA conferences in Wisconsin.

Here’s what I learned in my research:

  • Pack more business cards than you think you need
  • Pack clothing in one color scheme so things mix ‘n’ match and you can minimize the number of shoes you bring (I have three with me: black flats, winter boots, tennis shoes)
  • Pack clothing that can be layered. Conference hall temps are notoriously irregular.
  • Pack comfortable shoes; there will be a lot of walking
  • Pack snacks and an empty water bottle (unless you like buying $5 bottles of water at the airport)
  • Pack for carry-on only which makes it impossible (hopefully) for the airline to lose your luggage. Ok, my bags are bursting at the seams but I made it work (see pic above).
  • Bring an extension cord. People will love you
  • Bring address labels for the exhibit hall (this might be an old tip but I grabbed some just in case)
  • Plug hotel address into phone. Yay, the hotel is connected to the convention center via a walkway
  • Write a 30-second intro speech (What do I want people to remember about me?)
  • Hand sanitizer because it’s still cold & flu season (and I’m totally wiping down the hotel room remote with some sanitizer when I get in)
  • Pick 2-3 sessions per session time to attend. The ones you planned on may be dry/not what you are looking for, they may be full, or you may not be able to get there in time, depending on how spaced out session rooms are (this may be more of an ALA thing. The Philadelphia Convention Center looks to be one huge, 3 block long building)
  • Tweet #PLA2018
  • Type your final conference report up on the flight back. If you wait, you will be putting out fires back at the office and your report will go on the back burner