Scholarship Recipients – FY17

Continuing Education Scholarship Reports – FY17
Articles from recipients of scholarships awarded in FY17 (7/1/16-6/30/17) – you can apply for one by clicking here!

ALA Midwinter – Sara Zettervall

Every conference is a surprise—I find no matter how carefully I plan, I end up following new directions onsite. This time was no different. I was grateful to fulfill the purposes I outlined in my Metronet application, but I what ended up engaging me the most were the many conversations about how our profession should respond to the new Trump Administration. I also covered part of my time at Midwinter by writing for Cognotes, the conference newspaper, which you can view at

I was able spread the word about my upcoming book on library-social work collaboration and begin to recruit panelists for our Annual Conference session through the many interactions I had with other participants at Midwinter. Thank you for supporting that activity. The most significant thing I was able to do along those lines was meet with three co-authors for a related article on Whole Person Librarianship. Because we were all in attendance, we were able to have a deep planning discussion and make a lot of progress in our planning in a much shorter amount of time than we could at a distance.

I also represented Librarians Build Communities (LBC) to the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Implementation Working Group (EDI-IWG). At the time I applied for this funding, the LBC was planning a volunteer event at Midwinter, which didn’t end up happening. We’re at an important juncture with determining the future of the group right now, though, and being part of the conversation at Midwinter will help us define our new direction. It was also very meaningful to me to be able to be a part of the EDI-IWG in-person meeting and get to discuss and plan with people from all over the country. We met with the senior lobbyist from the ALA Washington Office to talk about how they promote social justice values and made plans for how our group can work more with them in the future. I was also part of an EDI-IWG session at the Future of Libraries Symposium where we shared our progress to date and got some feedback from colleagues about their priorities for incorporating EDI across ALA (mainly that there’s more confusion than we anticipated, so we have some work ahead of us about our message).

The session that will probably stand out for me the most, though, was the town hall meeting hosted by the ALA Executive Board and Council. I hadn’t ever been at a Council session before, so just seeing the room where they get things done was new and exciting (it looked an awful lot like the United Nations!). For an hour and a half, ALA members got up and spoke about their opinions either as individuals or subunit representatives about how the ALA as a whole should approach working (or not) with the Trump administration. This was prompted by a strong negative reaction last fall to a press release from the ALA Washington Office that they would work with the Trump Administration. The town hall itself didn’t resolve anything but raised some important questions that are going to have to be addressed. Many people feel that cooperating unconditionally is selling our soul for federal funding, while others believe the only way to make good things happen is to find commonality wherever possible. My own professional reaction has been to schedule a strictly nonpartisan “Civic Engagement 101” session at my library to help patrons of all opinions learn more about how to become politically involved.

Thanks very much to the Metronet Board for supporting me. It means a lot to me personally, and I’ll encourage other librarians to apply in the future. I came back from this energized and ready to do more work!


Minnesota Library Association Conference – Gretchen Benson, Anoka County Library

Thanks to Metronet’s scholarship I was able to attend the Minnesota Library Association Conference 2016, in Duluth, MN, for the first day of the conference. I was the only person from my branch of the Anoka County Library system to attend, and being able to share what I have learned has generated new conversations at my branch, and ideas for the system.

I focused on diversity, inclusion, and outreach for the sessions I attended. I learned about communities and different ways of reaching your Patrons (and potential Patrons). I also attended multiple sessions on the importance of diversity and inclusion in programming, story time, and library practices. The branch I work at in Anoka County has the most diverse residents as well as Patrons that come from other systems.

Some examples of what I learned at the conference:

  • When using Social Media you should tailor each post to the type of app you are using
  • Instagram = photos
  • Twitter = a bit of everything
  • Facebook = more formal information
  • When making community connections, don’t go in expecting to get something, but find out what they can give to your organization (see them as an asset that helps you)
  • Sometimes you can fill a need temporarily (pop-up library that exists for 2-3 hours during a community event)
  • When making a connection with a community group, spend time learning about their culture and create open communication
  • If we believe in the every of ‘Every child ready to read’ than we must be inclusive in our story times and in our practices for children
  • Mistakes are ok, we all must remember that as a profession we are all going through changes in outreach and inclusion and we are learning together