When I became an Aiken FOL board member, I wanted to learn as much as I could about how good libraries work – so I decided to attend the SCLA Conference in Columbia in October. Marlena White had recommended it and said that FOSCL would host one of the sessions there, too.
Conferences were a valuable part of my professional education – as a teacher in the early days of educational technology in schools, meeting others in that new field was exciting, and the exchange of ideas at a state conference was essential to my work. I wasn’t disappointed at SCLA, either: I saw many young librarians eager to learn more about best practices in their work.
The theme of the conference this year was IDEA, representing four things a library strives to be: Inclusive, Diverse, Effective, and Accessible.
I was impressed at the number and variety of interesting sessions. I started my day there with the demonstration of Intercept software developed at the Richland library. This was completely new to me - a system for organizing and planning meeting room reservations and much more! The software makes it easy to track attendance, essential for planning programs and good recordkeeping. Best of all, it is open source software, free for libraries to use and adapt to local needs. More information can be found at www.libraryintercept.com.
Our own FOSCL organized an author panel with the theme “State of the Heart.” The room was full, and authors who contributed to the 3 volumes of this work spoke about the content and how it all came about. I was impressed at the questions from the audience, too: librarians from every corner of the state wanted to know more about it.
During a break, I spoke to the vendors, going first to the booth for Hoopla – one of the digital library options for public libraries (www.hoopladigital.com). Our Aiken library system uses Hoopla, and I’ve been a volunteer helping patrons learn how to use it for years. I had lots of questions for the rep - it’s important to make those connections with vendors for the times when you run into technical problems with software.
After lunch, I went to the session titled “Managing from the Middle” and I remembered being there in my career, too! The room was packed again, and I was impressed at the participation. Good questions were raised – and this session reminded me of what conferences are all about. Everyone seemed eager to share their experience, challenges, and solutions with others interested in making libraries a vital part of their communities: Inclusive, Diverse, Effective, and Accessible. I’d recommend to all of us in FOL organizations to attend SCLA to learn how we can help them.
FOSCL is proud to be a member of the South Carolina Library Association and participate in its annual conference.