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PLA - Day 3

Day Three at PLA started with "Oh, I Should Have Said ... : aka Dealing With Difficult People" which was a really great program that used humor to deal with various "problem patron" situations, including when the "problem patron" is actually the library staff member. The presentation was scattered with skits demonstrating situations familiar to all of us who work public service desks. I think one key which they addressed is not taking the actions of angry people personally, and I think that's key for any customer service oriented job. People can be grumpy, and it's generally not your fault, so stop getting defensive and instead try to defuse the situation by really listening to what they have to say and finding an acceptable solution for both parties.

Next up was "Top Five of the Top Five" which was blitz of genre fiction recommendations. The five genres represented were horror, fantasy, women's fiction, crime, and humor and, just to show my ignorance, the crime recommendations were a lifesaver for me. Really though, every genre introduced me to a few authors I hadn't been aware of. I had expected this to be a "fluff" program, but I order fiction and do reader's advisory, it really ended up being a big help.

The afternoon was really a bust for me. The first program I went to was so bad I'm not going to name it here. The presentation was extremely simplistic, the presenters had no personality, and they were basically presenting a topic that's extremely timely and should have been interesting in an extremely dull way. Due to technical difficulties I missed the beginning of the second afternoon session and since there weren't any I was particularly interested in, decided to spend some time reading one of the books I picked up in the exhibit hall.

I spent the evening with some Oklahoma librarians (I did an internship in their system five years ago), and it was interesting to get the take of these seasoned PLA attendees. They are all die-hard shoppers and told me the next time I go to PLA I have to go on one of the tours, because they're a great value and the guides usually end up connecting you with great deals and ideas for the rest of your stay. Thanks to their tour guide, we got to eat at a swanky hotel restaurant for less than half price.

My final day at PLA will be a short one because I have to leave for the airport. I am planning to attend the first session, though, so hopefully I'll get a few more pearls of wisdom to take home.
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