Back to work after being in Chicago for the American Library Association conference and then taking a long weekend for Independence Day!
Chicago was great! I attended many excellent programs and sessions, but my favorite thing about the trip was meeting marketing and public relations professionals from library systems across the country. We met at Chicago Public Library – Harold Washington Library Center. What a beautiful building! We met on the ninth floor in the special collections reading room and I stopped on every floor on the way up to the top. On the second floor, I was compelled to walk by the Marketing Department and I took a picture of the door because it was such a stark contrast to the one I walk through every day. Ha! 🙂 Aside from that, the building had meeting rooms, an auditorium, a video theater, and the Winter Garden with space for up to 500 people. It’s an impressive system and we also got a sneak peek at CPL’s new Innovation Lab. While all of that was wonderful, sharing experiences, successes and challenges with others who have similar positions to mine was even better.
As expected, I used the down time on my trip to finish reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. We never take for granted that Rowell lives in Omaha, but it was really fun when so many librarians from other cities interupted my reading to talk about the book and ask me if I loved it as much as they did! We can’t take any credit for Rowell’s success, but I certainly didn’t hesitate to brag a little bit that she was from Omaha. I will let you read it for yourselves, but my favorite thing about the book was that anyone who has ever truly been in love or even had a broken heart could relate to the feelings portrayed in this story. The characters, setting and circumstances were important, but also not, in a way. The feelings almost always seem to be the same when you’re falling, whether you’re 16 or 62… fears, doubts, insecurities and not being able to think of anything but that one person who simultaneously makes you nervous and fills your heart with joy. These emotions were captured perfectly in Eleanor & Park. Next on my list to read is And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.
On Sunday I got together with a group of ladies from the library to discuss the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. The author is the COO of Facebook and according to the book’s description, Lean In “examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.” As a communications major in college, I certainly read my fair share of studies on how women’s communication styles affect their careers, and when I first started reading this book, it read a lot like those familiar academic articles. As I read further, I started to appreciate what Sandberg was explaining from her personal point of view. The information may not have been new, but it serves as an encouraging reminder to women who want to advance their careers. The book spurred some interesting conversation about gender roles in the library and how those roles are different or similar in corporate or nonprofit organizations.
I’m getting back into the swing of Summer Reading Program this week by attending two programs: Chalk Drawing at W. Clarke Swanson Branch on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., and Parent Child Cooking: Preparing Safe Food at Charles B. Washington Branch on Thursday at 2 p.m. Join me! 🙂