text - awesome shit happening at NYLA 2017 surrounded by floating smiling poop emojiIt’s that time once again. The time when librarians across New York State make their annual migration to Saratoga Springs, to learn, and party, and also to party..

Where was I? Oh right, NYLA Annual Conference! It’s coming up in LESS THAN A WEEK! How did that even happen?! That means it must be time for the 3rd Annual “Awesome Shit Happening at NYLA” List, where we highlight cool events, presentations by library staff who have shown up to an ULU things once or twice, stuff library staff who have shown up to an ULU thing once or twice might be interested in, and frankly, events with an open bar (or cash bar, we aren’t picky.)

There are a bunch of really great things going on this year, so see below for a schedule of highlights!

Say Hey to ULU at the Conference!
We’ll be set up with a fun display in the hallway all conference, but pop by and check in with us during the exhibits only time. Try on a creepy advocacy bird head. Sign up to volunteer! Join a committee! All the things!


NYLA After Dark – Trivia Fundraiser
Thursday- 10:00pm – who knows!
It’s been a long day, but you can’t go to bed now!!! Not when there is trivia to be had. Join ULU for a late night of fun, and trivia you’ll admit to knowing, but not voluntarily! This event will be to raise money for the NYLA Disaster Relief Fund (let’s hope that this is not a disaster for the organizer’s careers while we are at it).

Spring Trail Fun-Run
Friday – 6:30 AM – 8:00 AM
Wake up, pop an aspirin, drink a gallon of water and stumble out to the Spring Trail Fun Run! On this out and back run, we will take a slightly hilly 5k course around the Skidmore Campus. Sidewalks, bike lanes and soft gravel paths will keep us all safe, but since this is a pre-dawn event, headlamp and reflective gear are suggested. Approximately 3.5 miles.
Registration for this event is $8 per person.  Proceeds to benefit the NYLA Sustainability Initiative Fund.

Conference Programs You Might Think are Awesome

4:15 PM-5:15 PM
Libraries are a Powerful Platform for Change
Libraries are a powerful platform for positive change in the lives of those we serve. We can change the world, one library at a time. Raise your awareness and be inspired to own your role as a sustainability leader in your community. Our goal: Ensure that New York’s communities thrive, bounce back from disruption and are infused with new and better life for everyone. Libraries can lead the way. This event will combine the conceptual with the practical. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of how to position the library as a community leader, create mutually beneficial partnerships and inspire future investment in the library.
Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Mid-Hudson Library System
Matthew Bollerman, Hauppauge Public Library

9am – 10am
Stalk Your Elected Officials
You can’t always convince decision makers that libraries are awesome, but we can help you convince them that libraries make a difference in something they really care about. Rather than saying “Hey, Libraries are great, you should support us,” you can say “Hey, do you want a solution for those issues that are important to you? We already exist!” Learn to create a database of your local decision makers, what they care about most, and customized talking points, so you and your advocates can always be ready for that surprise advocacy moment.
Lauren Comito, Queens Library
Christian Zabriskie, Yonkers Public Library

TeleStory: Keeping Families Connected
The program will look at how BPL’s TeleStory program connects families with incarcerated loved ones and offers supports — from literacy to referrals for reentry services — to incarcerated individuals, their families and their communities. The program will describe: the incarcerated and reentry populations and the particular barriers they face; how the TeleStory program works in concert with in-person jail visits; why public libraries are the ideal space for projects like TeleStory; how we envision the project developing our work with this most heavily marginalized population.
Nick Higgins, Brooklyn Public Library
Michael Carey, Brooklyn Public Library

New To NYLA? Start Here!
10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Welcome to NYLA! If you want to learn about library advocacy, how to become more involved, or have ever wondered what the organization does for libraries, please join us.

Connecting with Patrons in Poverty (ULU Sponsored session)
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Learn how to create an outreach plan that targets different types of patrons in poverty, including the homeless and people who are of lower socioeconomic status. Learn effective communication skills and a deeper understanding of differences in communication styles. Gain an understanding of barriers created by poverty and how policies made in the library can contribute to those barriers.
Virginia Wescott, Troy Public Library
Anita Favretto, New York Public Library
Kim Mcmann, New York State Community Action Association

Let’s Get Graphic
3:00 pm – 4:00pm
From comics to manga, learn how to incorporate graphic novels in your library! A panel of experts discuss their experience with collection development, censorship, education, and programming with graphic novels. Librarians with experience working with children, teens, adults, English language learners, and academic libraries share their advice on using graphic novels to serve their patrons. Learn how to develop a graphic novel collection, anticipate and overcome challenges, and how graphic novels can best serve your community.
Joshua Firer, Levittown Public Library
Rosemary Kiladitis, Queens Library
Michael Buono, Patchogue-Medford Public Library
Lissetty Thomas-Johnson, Brentwood Public Library

Build Your Digital Community Voice
Conference participants will engage in an interactive panel discussion aimed at exploring Brooklyn Public Library’s oral history project, Our Streets, Our Stories and BKLYN Mixtape, a podcast of local Brooklyn makers, tech folks, and artists. Take advantage of easily accessible forms of digital media to create and share fully functional visual and audio stories from your patrons and community members. We’ll talk about tools like SoundCloud, iTunes, Tumblr, and BKLYN’s website and social media platforms. Brooklyn Public Library, a system with 60 branches serving over 2.5 million residents, is well positioned to discover, record, and preserve these community stories. Our panelists will share practical tips for bringing out the best stories from patrons and will share ideas for attendees interested in launching or enhancing their own projects through podcast production.
Taina Evans, Brooklyn Public Library
Phillip Bond, Brooklyn Public Library
Stephanie Elstro, Brooklyn Public Library

10:45 AM-11:45 AM
Hooray for Social Justice!
Social justice is imperative for a functional democracy. As libraries are in the democracy business, social justice is part of our core mission. We’ve heard from library people who believe in social justice, but don’t think they should take explicit stands on issues of race, sexuality, gender, religion, nation of origin, or class discrimination. They are concerned that the community will perceive the library as a politically partisan entity. In Hooray for Social Justice! we will dive into the difference between partisanship and speaking for our core values, and try actions every library can implement to build a culture of social justice. Note! This is not a sit and listen program! This is a do and discuss program! You’ve been warned.
Margo Gustina, Southern Tier Library System
Eli Guinnee, Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System