What is a positive memory from your teenage years–and what might that memory look like when drawn on paper? This ice-breaker started the state-wide “Take 5” conference recently hosted by ACPL at the Athens Community Center in early May. Throughout the day, attendees revisited these “memory maps,” gathering stories and sketches from others to add to their own and to eventually share during a final reflection session.
Collaboration and hands-on learning continued throughout the day as approximately 75 library employees who work with teens and children jumped into group brainstorming sessions, activity fair stations, and a guided, local-foods lunch discussion inspired by a “500 Plates” community event in Akron, Ohio.
Speaker Miguel Figueroa from the Center for the Future of Libraries (American Library Association) also shared about the latest trends shaping our world and library youth services, and how libraries can be both curious and critical of trends in such areas as connected learning, sharing economies, and technology. “The future is many, not one,” he stressed in a morning presentation that set an energetic and inspiring tone for the rest of the conference.
In the afternoon, participants engaged with ACPL community partners and programs such as book-a-bike, pop-up maker-spaces, and a “Windows to Our World” poster display of best practices, experiments, and ideas from Ohio libraries. Guest partners included Rural Action (Survival Skills and Team Building), Community Food Initiatives (Discovery Kitchen Tasting Tables), Athens Area Mediation Services (“What’s Going On?” mediation skits geared towards teens), Rising Appalachian Warriors (alternative outdoor education and exploration), and more. Sydney, a volunteer therapy labrador at Jackson City Library, won more than a few hearts– and her handler Sharon encouraged attendees to consider the diverse roles and rewards of therapy animals in a library setting.
Youth services librarians know how to have fun! Post-conference activities invited participants on a guided tour of the Special Collections archives at Ohio University’s Alden Library, as well as invitations to local food and drink establishments–including an evening euchre game led by Athens Public Library staff.
Many thanks to all at ACPL who helped make this conference possible. Special gratitude to the following: the Take 5 Planning Team, the Southeast Regional Library System (SERLS), the State Library of Ohio, and the Teen Advisory Board of the Wright Memorial Public Library.