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PLA - Day 2

Day Two at PLA brought the beginning of regular sessions and my massive day of teen services.

I started the day with "Reinventing Your Teen Department" which was a library that brought teens into their library by creating appropriate teen spaces in the library and focusing on gaming. While the general aim of their gaming program was similar to what we talked about in my preconference the day before, the way they went about achieving it was completely different. Instead of starting with the crowd pleasing Wii and branching out to other gaming systems as interest grew, they went straight for the teenage boys and set them loose on an Xbox. It was interesting, but a lot of the ideas they implemented aren't very applicable to my current situation. I got a few new ideas for resources, though.

The second morning session was "Top Trends in Teen Services" which was one of those great potpourri sessions where they threw out tons of great ideas for all aspects of teen services. Since my responsibilities are mainly programming I paid plenty of attention to that, but also to design ideas for the teen area, which ended up playing a role in my lunch conversation.

The group I went to lunch with happened to be the section of our staff at PLA who have an interest in teen services and we spent a lot of time talking about how it's time to finally do teen services right at our library. Yes, it's not our main demographic, but we're doing a real disservice to our community if we ignore them (especially since we know that, outside of school, there aren't a lot of things for teens to do in our community). As we design our new building it will be important that teens don't just get stuck in some leftover corner, but have a distinctive space of their own, separate from childrens, separate from adult, partly so they don't bother the other groups, but more importantly, so that they have a space where they feel safe to be themselves.

In the afternoon I went to the programming most directly relevant to my teen programming role "Cool Teen Programs Under $100", which really ended up being Cool Teen Programs Under $25. The presenter was wonderful and you could tell she really has a passion for quality creative teen programs. After brainstorming our own cool teen programs, we got to help our presenter crowdsurf. It was crazy and fun, and encapsulates part of why I love being a teen librarian. We can't be afraid to let our hair down and do crazy stuff.

To finish of the the day I went to a Talk Table called "Teen Recon 101" This was put on by the Birmingham Public Library and they talked about the wide variety of teen programs they put on in their 20 different locations. The main thing I took home from that is that it never hurts to look around in your community for partnerships and grants if you want to do flashy programs but don't have a flashy budget. The worst thing people will tell you is no, so it never hurts to ask. I now have ideas for groups to approach when I get home.

I nearly finished going through the exhibits during my break, but I was really disappointed that I missed Brandon Sanderson's signing at the Tor booth or his talk during one of the afternoon session. I love his Alcatraz series and keep meaning to read his other books to see if I would like them just as much. He's also an author I enjoy following on Facebook/Twitter, so I could really kick myself for dropping the ball on that.

Of course more work-related talk went on in the evening with a few coworkers. There was general talk about our community and how the library fits into it, discussion of the general work culture within the library and how there are going to lots of changes in the next few years and how that will affect the organization, basically all sorts of meta stuff that you don't have time to think or talk about during the regular work week. If nothing else, I love that conferences give you a chance to step back and take a look at the organization as a whole.

So lets just say that after a super intense librarian day, things were bound to ease up a little the next day.
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