The Steltzner Scholarship was awarded to 6 individuals this year, all of whom attended the Minnesota Library Association Conference in October 2020. A few notes/highlights from the recipients of this scholarship:
While I’m always going to be someone who prefers in person events to online, I’m so grateful that MLA pivoted to hosting the conference in an online format rather than cancelling outright. And truth be told, it’s unlikely I would have been able to travel to Duluth for the conference so really it worked out for the best. As this was my first MLA I don’t have much to compare it to but I definitely plan on attending again. Also the resume review was a fantastic service to offer!
Highlight from White Librarians Work: Continuing a Conversation About Anti-Racism in Libraries session: I value the fact that MLA felt it necessary to host a follow-up conversation to a webinar they held earlier this year. They even emailed everyone who registered for the first session to promote this one as well as recommend some resources. Unfortunately I got to the session a little late because I initially logged into the “Wikidata and Libraries” session which turned out to be a little too technical for me.
This was such an exciting opportunity and I’m grateful to have received this scholarship to attend! Many thanks for this program and supporting students in building their library networks.
Highlight from The Great Pivot: The Evolution of Online Instruction Toward Trauma-Informed Teaching session: As a student who is currently in a grad program, and as a person who is very interested in working in public libraries, I was grateful to see a session focused on trauma informed services. While the services in this session were more focused on higher education, I think the philosophies behind any kind of trauma-informed service is very much the same. I appreciated the very person-centered conversation shared by speakers, and was grateful to hear the process they took in redesigning their roles as librarians. I know that building skills in providing trauma informed services in public libraries will often take some challenging and humbling work, so it was affirming to hear their personal stories.
As a first time attendee, I found that my experiences working at a public library as well as my current education lined up nicely to give me more insight into how to shape my future career around the ever-changing atmosphere of libraries and how to best craft services to the needs of all patrons.
Highlight from Highway to the Data Zone session: Being able to learn about ECLDS and how to utilize it in figuring out young patrons’ information needs by demographics, learning about other government institutions and how the library can work with them
Thank you for this opportunity to attend my first MLA conference! Hoping that I can attend again next year in person 🙂
Highlight from I Can Be Perfect, I Promise! session: Learning about the ties between perfectionism and oppression/white supremacy was fascinating. The presenter was extremely engaging, and shared his own struggle with perfectionism, and how it can be counterproductive to completing tasks, and also a hinderance to his work in public libraries. It was debated whether perfectionists are drawn to public libraries, or if the work tends to lend itself to perfectionism, but the discussion surrounding this was lively, and many of the attendees could relate to the topic and its impact on librarianship.
I caught a few minutes of my colleague Katherine’s session. It was great to see her talking about her work to a public audience rather than just at an internal meeting. I think she does great work and I was glad to learn a little more about it.
Highlight from Reading for Justice: A Database for Children’s & YA Literature session: It was really interesting to hear from recent MLIS grads to help me think about what library students are interested in doing projects on. I haven’t been to library school, so I lack some of this crucial context when I mentor MLIS practicum students. I thought they brought some important questions to the panel and helped me think about what I can do as a cis, white woman to engender change in library practice.
It was not hard to pick out which sessions to attend as there were so many sessions that were of interest. Thank you.
Highlight from Jana Shortal – Keynote address: Jana believes we are gatekeepers of the seeker and that information helps make us better people and to be a different person. Information also helps us understand ourselves. Jana’s experience as a child was a bit traumatic. At recess when Jana was in elementary school she wanted to play soccer vs play with dolls at recess and Jana was told that she could not play soccer and she ended up sitting on the sidelines. Jana wished she could have spent time in a library rather than sitting on the sidelines during recess. This is interesting because since I’ve become a Middle/High School librarian, I’ve always allowed students to come hang out in the library during lunch(there is no recess). For many of the students here at TCA, the library is a safe and comfortable place to be. The lunchroom is chaotic and noisy.