The North Carolina Library Association recently hosted its 60th Biennial Conference in Winston-Salem, where hundreds of professional librarians and paraprofessionals gathered from across the state.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Stronger Together” and sessions focused on how collaboration, partnerships and networking throughout our communities and libraries can enhance our growth and value.
The four-day conference provided multiple educational opportunities, including concurrent sessions, author lunches, poster sessions, exhibits and speeches by the American Library Association President Barbara Stripling and our very own Cal Shepard, state librarian of North Carolina. Robeson County was represented through presentations from both Catie and me.
Catie encouraged librarians to boost circulation by catering to their customers during her popular poster session. She displayed an attention-grabbing display and shared tips such as getting rid of barriers to circulation, making it easy to use the library, and knowing your audience. Simple changes such as not using the bottom shelf, encouraging requests for purchase, and promoting new books on the website were well received by attendees. Her presentation boasted tons of ideas, many of which are in the works for incorporating in Robeson County.
The North Carolina Library Paraprofessional Association invited me to be the presenter for one of its sponsored sessions. I taught a workshop for them last year at East Carolina University and was thrilled to have the chance to work with them again. I shared my top 10 tips for teen programming to a roomful of energetic librarians and paraprofessionals who are trying to engage more teens in their libraries. I addressed the importance of having a positive, welcoming attitude towards teens, reading young adult literature, stepping out of one’s comfort zone in order to better connect with youth, and spending the time to effectively promote your programs. I enjoyed meeting people from diverse library systems and I hope I have the chance to teach more sessions in the future.
Attending conferences and discussing pressing issues facing libraries today reinforces the message that libraries are a vital force in our communities and that we have allies across our great state. We hope that our communities here in Robeson County will rally behind the libraries and that we truly can become stronger together.
Katie Huneycutt is the youth services librarian of Robeson County Public Libraries.