My brain hurts (and make sure you say that in your best Monty Python “Gumby” voice to get the full effect). Three days have passed and my energy level is low — and there is still half a day to go. It’s going to be a close run thing, and I’m betting that I’ll be doing some serious sleeping on the flight back home tomorrow. Whew!
I’m doublely grateful for the “slow” start this morning because the afternoon sessions were quite involving, but well worth the effort. First up at 2:00 pm was “Rx for Ra – Training Library Staff in Fiction and Nonfiction.” And to be honest, this for me, was the main event and I was not disappointed. I really like they way they set it up. Three presenter, each representing a different size library system (Deanna Street, small system, Lucy Lockley, medium system, and Katie Mediator Stover, large system) outlined how they approached providing RA training for their staff. Each of their systems had simularities and differences, emphasising their seperate needs for training and the needs in supporting their systems. Their stories were just the kind of things I really needed to hear; practical outlines about how to go about getting staff trained. Will any of these work at my system? The ideas are certainly there, it’s just a question of finding the right mix. But can I accomplish what they have done? I don’t know, but I’m feeling very inspired to try right now. I just hope I can hold on to that feeling.
I think that program is what took the most out of me today. I was not only focused on what they were saying but also mentally trying to work out a plan of my own as well. I was definitely into “overthink” mode and I came out of there feeling pretty drained. Between sessions, I helped (well, stood around an chatted mostly) take down the San Antonio Public Library booth in the Placement Center, and that symbolic winding down, left me feeling even more worn. I then had a choice to make for the last session of the day: something practical or something a little more fun. Yeah, I went with fun. How’d you guess?
I didn’t realize how much fun it was going to be, though, until after it started. The session? “What’s Love Got to Do With It;” a panel discussion with 3 romance authors and one “paranormal” romance author. I went knowing that even in the already female dominated world of librarianship I would be even more in the minority than usual there. But hey, I got nothing against romances. I’ve read (and enjoyed) quite a few, I do advisory for it, and the only reason I don’t read more of them is that I’m afraid I might get addicted to them. A good story is a good story in my book (pardon the horrible pun) and it seemed like a good opportunity to further my knowledge a little bit more, but in a more lighthearted manner.
Before I go futher, let me introduce the panel; Nita Abrams, Connie Brockway, Susan Kay Law, and Kim Harrison — all names I recongized, and if you’re a romance reader, you probably recognize as well. The format was question and answer, with some questions for particular authors and others for the whole panel. After some set questions, audiences questions were entertained. Sounds like fun, no? Fun doens’t cover it. The panel consisted of four intelligent, witty, and very open authors and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a “training” session before. As a group, they seemed the perfect mix, playing off each other like they’d rehearsed before hand, and I can’t think of a better way to end my 3rd day at PLA. I was I could recount some of their stories and jokes, but truly you just had to be there. Thank you ladies for a very good time.
And now it is confession time. I wimped out and skipped the All Member Reception. I was just too tired. This post, in fact, is courtesy of a large cup of coffee, something I ususally avoid in the evening. But I wanted to post and there is still packing to be done. The conference is winding to a close (though 2 sessions and the closing remain) but I’m definitely feeling that desire to shut down a bit and I’ve begun to yearn for a return to my home turf. This has been a great experience and hopefully tomorrow, before I head to the airport, I’ll have a little time to make my final report and try and sum what this whole adventure has meant to me. Until then….