I attended the Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference in Rochester, MN October 5-6, 2017. There were many interesting sessions to choose from.

I attended a session on reinventing Summer Reading Programs to add new life and new direction. I learned new ways to structure and reinvigorate the program as well as drawing in new participants. The first step in reinvigorating the program is to set goals for what is to be accomplished for both the children participating and the library; implement outcome measurements; explore ways to structure and promote the program differently. Several ideas were shared: Start the program in May to reach the children when they are still in school, restructure the reading log to include activities other than reading, and make sure everyone gets a prize. It was stressed that “trinkets” used as incentives should be re-considered. A prize with worthwhile value, such as a book, is more appropriate.

Self Publishing Using Your Local Library: The opportunity for patrons to self-publish a book or create an open textbook may be available to patrons throughout Minnesota. It was interesting to learn about the suite of services that allows patrons to turn manuscripts into ebook formats and share them with readers across the state. The core of these services is Pressbooks, an easy-to-use online book production tool, and SELF-e, a sharing and discovery platform for ebooks.

I also attended sessions about staff-wide training, rural libraries, non-management leadership and change management.

One of the highlights of the MLA Conference is connecting with library professionals and other leaders that work in libraries or in a library setting. It is a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests, share information and expand your circle of library contacts.