Since I had worked in a field that encouraged going to conferences. Back in the early 90s, it was all the rage. Lots of corporate money flying around. Lots of conferences in Vegas or Orlando. Seemingly little sessions but lots of golf, I am told.

When I was about 8, my father was a volunteer EMT and would go to trade shows. I was fascinated. All the colors, give aways and candy. Back then I collected patches and would then sew them on my book bag. So many people, it was overwhelming in a way but I had him with me so I was all good.

The last two days I was at a Youth Services Librarian conference. It was a day and a half (no golf) with break out sessions you could pick from and then yesterday an illustrator came and talked to us about his career path and how a librarian had really helped set him on that path (very cool). There was down time to visit vendors (and yes they gave out free things and lots of candy) and meet with other librarians. Many of the sessions were sharing periods at your big table of 9 others.

It was good for me in a lot of different ways. Showed me that while my library is a tad dysfunctional, we are NOT the most dysfunctional library out there. Gave me some ideas for dealing with my staff and maybe to better manage this difficult situation that will be approaching in the next few months. I got some great program ideas that will push me outside my comfort zone but in a good way and got to laugh quite a bit. Oh yeah and picked up 10 LEUs to keep my credentials alive and well. It was exhausting, all the people and the having to gather courage to keep introducing myself. But I did it… and I am glad I took that chance.

Our Youth department did a lot of special programs for Summer Reading and we hit the end of July exhausted. I purposely scaled back the programming for August to help us catch our breath and for me to carve out some time for professional development. I think it worked; as I do feel better prepared to tackle the next year (personally I feel the new year begins after Summer Reading ends) and maybe make some more changes.

So that class you are thinking of taking, that retreat, that program the library or Y is offering that catches your eye and you are like, huh, sort of out of my comfort zone, won’t know anyone there… go ahead and do it. Sign up and take a change in finding a new place to let joy into your life and the chance to look back when it is over and say Dag I did that!

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