I just got back from the first in-person library conference/meeting I have been able to attend since December of 2019.  Needless to say, it was long overdue, and it is vital to the continued attempt of maintaining my sliver of sanity.  Conferences have always been my source of new ideas and encouragement to keep us trucking on to make our library the best it can be. 

The Missouri Library Association (MLA) 2021 Conference was attended by not only myself, but also by my Children’s Librarian, Brittany.  The best part of taking a staff member is that we can split up and attend more workshops, and it is even better when we are both funded by an LSTA grant.  We both received a Show Me Steps to Continuing Education Grant.  This program is funded by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds awarded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning.  LSTA grants are awarded and administered to Missouri Libraries by the Missouri State Library, a department of the Office of the Secretary of State. 

Can you tell I coped that from the sample press release?  “Publication Credit” which is the acknowledgement of receiving funding has specific requirements and a bunch of words, but is totally worth it.  We budget for a limited amount for professional development and without LSTA grants we would not be able to attend such great events.

In 2019, I wrote multiple grants so that multiple staff could attend the MLA conference.  This year the formatting was different and I just did not have it in me, so, yep, Brittany wrote her own grant!  It is pretty exciting that our girl is not only pursuing her Library Science degree, but now, she has written and received her first grant!  Woohoo! Hmmm, maybe I need to update her job description and she can become our (#my) grant writer too!   

The conference was shortened, the vendor hall seemed significantly smaller and various workshops ended up being cancelled, but, as Missouri State Librarian, Robin Westphal, said, we were all just “giddy” about being together again and, in my opinion, it was a great tentative step to whatever is now “normal”. 

I attended an Intellectual Freedom workshop and hope to find a way for my staff to receive this training in the future.  The cataloging workshop was a little boring, but only because Kelly and Jessica have done such a fantastic job teaching me MARC.  I learned about the statewide Missouri Book Challenge at the Reader’s Advisory/Book Blog and cannot wait for us to expand on our already successful, “What are you Reading, Wednesday?”  Kirkwood library told us about their podcast, and wowed us with all the famous authors they have been able to interview.  Watch out bestselling authors, the whole state of Missouri is going to be calling.  St. Louis County Library and St. Charles County shared their “Virtual Book Buddies” program that matches teens, who want to volunteer, up with young readers that need a reading buddy.  I also found the app I have been looking for to help remind our patrons of upcoming events at the library, guess what it is called?  Remind.  My last workshop was on LSTA grants.  How appropriate is that?  We were able to give the state library suggestions for the next cycle of grants and I might have specifically told Robin to “send more money.” 

It was a really great 2 days, and, although I am exhausted and might have a nap planned for this afternoon, I am so excited to have new ideas and am enjoying the effects of spending time with my library friends. That sliver is holding strong. 

Upcoming Events: 10/13 Story Time at 10am, 10/16 Saturday Story Time at 9:00 at The Ranch House in Stover and at 10:30am at the library, Adult Reading Challenge has started and runs through October 30th, swing by the library for more information