Nenshi, Upworthy, Librarians and Bliss

IMG_4266That’s probably a bit of a provocative title – Nenshi, Upworthy, Librarians and Bliss… but in all honesty, I’ve been at a jam packed conference. I’m in Jasper, Alberta and the Fairmont Lodge here is absolutely stunning. I stayed here a while back – but it was in a time that life was tumultuous and I can’t say it was the enjoyable experience I am having today.

The Alberta Library Conference is taking place and I have been surrounded by a crowd of mostly women. It’s somewhat poor on my part that the stereotypical view of librarians remains in my psyche due in large part to personal experiences. The men and women participating at this National Conference have caused me to stop and reflect on many aspects.

Let’s start with the bliss piece. The scenery here is stunning. I live in Okotoks, AB with a daily view of the ever-changing, always beautiful Rocky Mountains. What I don’t have is the up close and personal panorama that is the experience of being in Jasper next to a lake that reflects that mountain that feeds it. You step inside it’s shadow and truly consider how minute you are in this world.

I attended a session presented by two remarkable young ladies that work for the Calgary Library. They demonstrated the importance of meeting kids in their own space and celebrated the Pop Culture of today’s youth. They did it in style including the Harley Quinn T-shirt one of them adorned. It was well done. Something to consider when working to discover how to engage our youth in our libraries.

James and NenshiIt’s my strong belief that everyone should get a chance to hang with Nenshi… He’s a stand up guy, is a great listener and invites conversation. I can’t even vote for him as I don’t live in Calgary… but he took time nonetheless to consider my questions and share a laugh.  There wasn’t one person that he didn’t take the time to connect with or create a photo op. Kudos!

I also attended a session with Mayors Nenshi and Iveson. They addressed some of the big items regarding their municipal libraries including the cost per square foot as well as creating a balance in clientele from the marginalized to the academic. Provocative conversation to say the least. These are two great mayors who both seem to be doing an amazing job. The two have been friends for some time and you could tell by the banter that they were comfortable giving each other a ribbing. It made for a highly entertaining presentation. The best part… Vote for Me:

Another great surprise was the information provided by CEO of Upworthy, Sara Critchfield. She brings a fresh perspective to media with her work as she highlights noteworthy posts that are about improving the human condition. She’s just comes across like a very smart girl next door.

There were other sessions of course, but those were the most noteworthy.  I worked with a couple of great ladies from Foothills School Division to present our journey of Libraries to Learning Commons. Barb and Carol provided a lot of information to the librarians that hung out until the end of the day on the last day of the conference.  My thoughts… it was worth it, but my humble side keeps me from shouting it.

Take a look at the Alberta Library Conference information provided at their site and if you’re part of a community library of a school or school division library/learning commons looking to grow you should consider this conference next year.