It's Germane

The John Jermain Library's Weblog

Not Too Small to be (Nearly) Great

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As good as this conference (Public Library Association) is — and it is very good — not every session is of equal quality. Yesterday one of the four sessions I attended turned out to be too elementary to provide any new information. Today, one of the four sessions Catherine and I selected from among the approximately 50 available turned out to be inappropriate for a small library such as ours. The topic sounded as if it would be useful, “Reorganizing the Organization” but the speakers were from two rather large libraries – Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Jefferson County, Colorado (a Denver suburb). As a result the concerns they were addressing — how many assistant directors each library needed, and other similar concerns — were so beyond the scope of any reorganization we might undertake at John Jermain as to make the session virtually worthless to me. Ah well, three out of four ain’t bad.

It’s pretty hard to judge the content of a presentation based on its name alone. All in all, I think Catherine and I did pretty well; so far, six of eight sessions we picked — based on name alone — have ranged from very good to excellent when viewed from the perspective of how useful the knowledge gained will be for JJML.

So, what were the other three presentations I attended today?

  1. Jump Start Your Fundraising
  2. Marketing as Conversation: How to Interact with Your Community through Your Website
  3. And, saving the best for last:

  4. Shortcuts to Greatness or 10 Things that Great Libraries Know that Maybe You Don’t

Again, as I did (or didn’t do) yesterday, I won’t bore you with the details of these talks. However, there is one really nice thing that I learned today that I would like to share with you. Namely, that we’re already doing a number of the “ten things that great libraries know.” I take this to mean that JJML is, if not a “great” library, at least on its way to becoming one. This has turned out to be somewhat of a theme at this conference; in each session I learn a lot that will be useful to bring back to John Jermain, and at the same time, I discover that we’re already doing many of the best practices that are being lauded here. How cool is that for a small town library like JJML?

No celebrities today 😦  but, tomorrow author and radio commentator Sarah Vowel is the closing keynote speaker. Can’t wait!

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