The theme of this years spring fling West Virginia Library Association conference was "Create, Collaborate, Communicate". I may be wrong, but it seems like more folks come out for the spring conference than for the fall conference.
Held at the Days Hotel in Flatwoods, West Virginia, the first session I attended was "The New Change in Learning Express" presented by Susan Hayden of the West Virginia Library Commission. Presented with grace and humor, Ms. Hayden taught an overflowing conference room of librarians how to navigate the 3.0 version of the Learning Express through the West Virginia Info Depot. Many WV library users don't know about this wonderful online database that you help you find articles for research, take practice ACT and SAT tests, or figure out the sequence of your favorite fiction series that has 12 volumes.
The second session I attended was "Free Stuff From the Foundation Center" presented by Olivia Bravo of the Kanawha County Public Library. This was a helpful and informative presentation that talked about the resources available at grantspace.org and foundationcenter.org. These are great websites to explore so that you are familiar with funding sources, requirements, and deadlines.
For lunch, I had the pleasure of going to a local waffle house with other representatives from affiliates of the Upshur County Library. (And thanks, UCPL, for the yummy lunch!) It is so nice to get a chance to see colleagues in other rural libraries who are strong, creative, and resourceful folks who love their jobs. You are all inspirational to me!
After lunch, I lead a meeting of the WVLA Directors Roundtable. There were about 20 attendees in the meeting and we took some time to consider a bookmark that highlights "The Power of West Virginia Libraries". We also had a chance to talk about funding loss, lack of Bibliostat participation by academic and special libraries, and about our goals for the roundtable group. My point of view is that this group of library leaders can work together to make this into whatever we want. As library directors we can lean on each other for support, input, and progress. Just like the theme says: Let's create, collaborate, and communicate with each other to help libraries move forward with secure funding and clear goals.
Mock Board Meeting
Perhaps the most helpful session (for me) of the day was "What a Board Meeting Should Look Like" presented by the Marsh County Public Library Board with Judy K. Rule, director. A board meeting packet is mailed to board members a few days prior to the meeting so that everything may go smoothly and quickly at the board meeting. This board whipped through an entire meeting in 30 minutes. Very impressive. The Library Director's Report was also a part of the board packet and included many important topics regarding funding, legislation, statistics, fundraising, and circulation. This is a model that I will encourage my library board to follow as it made this board meeting fast, friendly, and efficient.
There are also laws that need to be abided by regarding transparency in local government. The Sunshine Law mandates that library board meetings be posted publically, for example, in the local newspaper. The agenda must also be publicized prior to the meeting. Minutes of the previous meeting need to be in the "board packet" mailed to all members of the board.
By that time it was time for me to head home to get ready for my Collection Development class. It was great to be re-energized by all the great librarians at the WVLA Spring Fling. Thank you, WVLA, for this inspiring learning opportunity with a great view from the hilltop where the Days Hotel stands in Flatwoods, WV. Fall conference in October is at Snowshoe, WV. If I don't see you there, I'll see you at the Pioneer Memorial Public Library.