Today was my first day at the Public Library Association conference, and I'm not sure how I'm going to do 2.5 more days and keep my head from exploding. There's just so much that's so relevant to my job, I can find something interesting everywhere I look.
This morning I went to the Get Your Game On: Gaming in Libraries Preconference, and it was wonderful. I realized that I need to stop playing the role of wife of a gamer and own that I know a thing or two about video games, too, and what I don't know I can learn. Eli and Aaron spent the first half of the program talking about the benefits of gaming and why libraries should be doing gaming, which is something I'd always bought, but never been very good at articulating. Essentially it boils down to all the different types of literacies learned through video games and what are libraries for if not promoting literacy.
It was also interesting they argued that the way libraries get the most value out of gaming is by hosting structured events because you expose kids to so many more elements that help kids become well-adjusted adults (there was a name for these elements, but I'm too tired to look it up right now).
And then they went on to say that even better was to offer at least some tournament play, which I've been really afraid to do, mostly because I'm worried it will be more work than I can foresee. But Eli talked about the tournaments his library runs and they're ridiculously huge and really don't require that much from the staff. Considering the small number of teens who come to our gaming programs currently, I'm sure any tournament I tried to host would be totally manageable for me to run by myself.
Since quite a few of my coworkers are here at PLA, we all met up for lunch and it was great to hear what preconferences everyone else had been to and what things people were planning to look for at the exhibits later in the afternoon. With the upcoming building project, obviously there are plenty of items related to that of interest, but our specific need is automated checkout and return systems because we want to get that up and running at our branch right now instead of waiting the 2.5 years until we're in our new building. So I went around with the coworker who had been designated to take notes on all the ILS vendors and really learned a lot. Although, by now, the automated technologies have come far enough that most of the vendors offer very similar features, so after the first few I was ready to look at other exhibits. So when I go back to the exhibits I'll probably try going on my own and looking at other things.
Tomorrow the regular conference sessions start and I'll be spending a lot of them learning about teen programming. Eventually I'll get around to the adult services part of my job and go to some sessions on reader's advisory and customer service, as well. Then of course there's the fact that I'm in Portland (and the Northwest) for the first time ever and I'd like to do at least a little sight seeing, or at least interesting eating.