Tuesday, June 3, 2008

AALS May Workshops & Future Workshops

We were very busy in the Month of May. Workshops that AALS hosted included topics such as Teen Film Festivals, Records Management and Audits, Government Docs, Trends in Children's Literature (online), Advanced Google, Interlibrary Loan and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology (online). Thank you to everyone who participated in these programs. We know we are making an impact on our libraries and their communities when we see you eager to learn and ask questions and share your thoughts at these programs.

At the recent AALS Advisory Council meeting last week, we heard from our member libraries that workshop topics that our system office offers each year are extremely important to our library directors, their staff & volunteers. AALS has consistently offered library-specific continuing education programs that have been instrumental in strengthening our area libraries.

Although we don't have an alternative proposal, we will not be able to provide training on many popular workshop topics in the future, mainly those that directly help library staff. Due to LSTA restrictions the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has been instructed to comply with, many workshop topics that the AALS librarians requested will not be allowable. This could begin as early as September 2008. The State Library is reviewing our proposed workshop schedule for FY09 and will be communicating with systems offices which workshop topics are allowable and which ones aren't. Unfortunately, the scope of the AALS workshops appears to be slowly evolving into a narrow pool of topics still TBD. The 10 system offices' CE consultants are going to meet with the State Library this summer to discuss what is allowable under the LSTA goals we are required to comply with.

Library System offices will need to align their CE workshops with 3 specific LSTA goals:

Goal 2 "Provide assistance to libraries to support literacy and educational
attainment in their communities."
Goal 3 "Assist libraries in providing programs and services to meet the needs of
their populations."
Goal 4 "Assist libraries with technology to serve the information needs of Texans."

Some of the examples of workshop topics that AALS will probably not be able to provide training on broadly include:

Administration (budgeting, policies, planning)
Management of library staff
Library Buildings
Legal issues for librarians
Fundraising /grant writing (applying to Tocker or other foundations)
Records Management & Audits
Nonprofit Management
Book Repair
Friends & Boards

This is not an all-inclusive list, but it gives you an idea of how some types of valuable training may be eliminated. Would you be willing to pay to take similar workshops, for example, through Amigos or a university? Most libraries don't have the funding available to pay for staff to take a class that costs anywhere from $150 to $200, plus travel expenses. It's too early to know the solution to this, but that's my 2 cents.

What workshops would you like AALS to sponsor? Does it fit in with any of the three required LSTA goals above? Post your comments/questions/opinions here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Film Festival Workshop

The AALS workshop, Lights, Camera, Action! How to Run a Teen Film Festival in the Library was a real success! The presenter, Susan Conlon, Teen Services Librarian at Princeton Public Library showed some funny films and some serious ones too that teens created themselves. This was a pleasure to see because it showed how the program idea could work for public libraries. It also demonstrated how creative some teens can be when using technology. Several film editing programs could be used for this. Many teens have some type of film editing software at home. One example is Apple's Final Cut. Susan's library has been doing an annual teen film festival for five years now. She and the library staff have provided teens with an official public venue to demonstrate their creative works. This helps give teens confidence and provides inclusion within a meaningful program. It was nice to hear how one teen involved in the film festival program at her library went on after high school to study filmmaking at a university in New York. Great ideas were shared at this event on how to plan and promote this and how to ask for money to budget for this type of programming. Several of the participants said that they would like to start up a teen film festival at their library. Who knows? Maybe we start up a Texas vs. New Jersey film festival contest!

Records Management and Audits in the Library training

The workshop last Friday gave an overview of what records libraries should be keeping track of and what to do before your public library is audited. The feedback we received overall was that this was a great learning experience. Library staff are better equipped to organize their files and have a systematic method of doing so.

The first presenter, Jed Rogers, works as a Government Information Analyst in the State and Local Records Management Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin, TX. His presentation was practical and useful for all library staff, at any level, who maintain records in their jobs. Some examples of records covered include emails sent/received and official and general correspondence, plus administrative documents.

The second presenter, Phil Harris, works as an auditor for the City of San Antonio's Finance Department. He shared pertinent information on what a rural public library should be doing to avoid several mistakes before an auditor catches them. His info was practical and helpful. the attendees were very glad to hear this information from the auditor's point of view.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Don't Miss Our Library 2.0/Social Networking Workshop this Friday!

Please come and see us at this workshop.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Reader's Advisory for Children

Last week we held a reader's advisory workshop here in the Alamo Area Library System presented by Kathleen Baxter. The title of this workshop was "Grab Them: Books with Real Guy (and Gal) Appeal!"

Ms. Baxter gave an entertaining and informative presentation; she was very funny. Her recommendations were practical and attainable. New ideas for titles to suggest to boys (and girls) were discussed. Most of the titles she mentioned are great to suggest to boys who struggle to find material in the library that interests them. Parents and librarians can use the title list that was handed out in this workshop to find great materials to read to kids. Many kids will want to check these items out for themselves too. All of the books listed involve things which are frequently a fascination for many boys. But she made the point that girls might like them too--don't assume that they won't be interested. Some examples included titles on unsolved mysteries, man-eating tigers, war planes, gross things, BMX, bugs and more. Most of these were nonfiction, although there were a few fiction titles.

Ms. Baxter demonstrated storytelling by reading some children's books and singing songs (which was a nice surprise!) while generating tons of laughter from the audience. Participants each received 5 hours of CE credit. A good time was had by all who attended.

Kathleen Baxter is currently a children's literary consultant who gives booktalks and speaking engagements nationwide. She will be speaking at the Public Library Association annual conference in her hometown of Minneapolis in March 2008. More information on Ms. Baxter can be found on her web site at www.kathleenbaxter.com

Monday, September 10, 2007

October 4 - Continuing Education Committee Meeting

It's time to begin planning for FY08 & beyond to FY09. Your participation and ideas are welcome at the annual AALS Continuing Education Committee Meeting coming up on Thursday, October 4. It will be held from 10am to 1pm at San Antonio Public Library in the Board Room on the 3rd floor.

Thanks in advance to all committee members for your feedback. AALS wants to make continuing education workshops meaningful to you and your staff, and even your volunteers. I hope to see you here in San Antonio on the 4th.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Video Gaming Workshop

Last week's video gaming workshop was an incredible success! I think this was our most unique professional development workshop this fiscal year. AALS has attempted to open up new ideas to our libraries, video gaming programs being one example. The presenters, Eli and Erin from Ann Arbor District Library, clearly explained the benefits and drawbacks of using video gaming programming in your library. They are both familiar with issues that public librarians face, so they had a practical view of what works and what doesn't. This was very helpful because some libraries are thinking about trying this type of programming for the first time. Tournaments seem to be the best way to go. The presenters explained how kids often are willing to bring in their own consoles for these programs. Another option is to buy one for your library since you can find cheap ones--under $100. They also demonstrated the tournament bracket structure--very easy to do + you can find many templates online, or just use a basic Excel spreadsheet instead. AALS is thinking about developing a video gaming kit for our libraries to check out. If we do this, it will be stocked with a few games and other equipment in one package. What do you think of this?