Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Putting on a Summer Reading Workshop

Our guest blogger today is Melendra Sanders, consultant at the NCKLS in Kansas, who coordinated her system's SLP workshop. Kansas does a great job bringing in a presenter to do all seven regional workshops (last year I was lucky enough to be the presenter. It was fun!)
I work as the Youth Services Consultant in a regional library system that is very loosely affiliated. As part of my duties, I hosted my first system-wide summer reading workshop this spring. Although I’ve done thousands of storytimes and children’s programs, this was my first for-adults-only, do-it-on-my-own event, and I had more than 40 librarians coming. To say I was nervous is a bit of an understatement.

Of course, I had help. As one of the seven regional library systems in Kansas, I didn’t select my speaker on my own. All the youth consultants work together to select an annual summer reading speaker. This year we invited Kathy Barco. Kathy is upbeat, energetic, and funny. She was flexible and easy to work with both before and during the workshop. In short, she did a fabulous job. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Although I didn’t select my presenter alone, all the rest of the planning fell to me. Looking at responses from past SR workshops, I coordinated with Kathy for what sorts of materials to focus on. I also created breakfast and lunch menus, table decorations, gathered supplies, arranged for an afternoon presentation, made tons of copies, and stuffed them into folders.

Unfortunately, our location is under construction at the moment, so a few days prior to the event, I notified attendees via email that they would not be able to park in our parking lot. The lot is always too small, but with 1/3 out of commission for construction vehicles it is ridiculously too small. I provided some alternate parking ideas, and my supervisor agreed to have a “shuttle” picking up librarians from one and transporting them to the library.

The day before the workshop, I set up the room with all my tabletop decorations, summer reading themed books, other displays, and craft supplies. The system always gives away decorations and prizes from CSLP, so I set all these items out as well. Finally, the other staff and I organized all the libraries’ CSLP purchases: reading records, certificates, posters, bookmarks, etc. A few weeks prior to the workshop, the whole department had helped me bag and label these materials for each library.

Kathy arrived in the afternoon before the workshop day. While she set up her space, I set up the video cameras because we’d decided to create a video of the event for any librarians who were unable to attend the workshop. As the first system to mention creating a video, I was asked to provide it to the other six regional systems, so we had two manned video cameras to get different angles. I also had a coworker in charge of taking pictures throughout.

In the morning prior to the workshop, it was all about food. For this, I had a lot of help from my fellow office workers. This was not their first SR workshop, and they have the organization of the food down to a science. While I was running back and forth finishing up final details and rearranging displays (I’d received more promotional materials in the mail), they efficiently set up breakfast.

Miraculously, everything went smoothly. We had a small glitch with the parking and shuttle service, but that was pretty much the only difficulty of the day. I was impressed with the afternoon presentation which consisted of four of our regional librarians discussing Teen Volunteer programs. Coordinating this had been one of the more difficult tasks, as each of the librarians has different communication styles and preferences. It could have been complete chaos, but worked out to be extremely professional and organized.

Here’s what I learned:

1)      All logistical emails need to be sent out at least a week in advance and should be sent multiple times.
2)      If I want the librarians to interact with new people, I need to assign mingled tables.

3)      Making a movie out of a workshop is VERY time consuming.

4)      LightWorks video editing software is a great product, but has a steep learning curve.

5)      Although librarians like yogurt, one small yogurt per person is too many.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marge, I'm considering planning a similar workshop day here in Florida. I have no idea how to budget something like this. Do you have a sample budget I could take a look at? Thanks, Erin