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5 Reasons I go to the OELMA conference every year

5 Reasons I go to the OELMA conference every year…
By: Lisa Barnes Prince, OELMA Treasurer, District Media Specialist at Manchester Local Schools

It can be intimidating to get ready to leave my library for two days every October. I’ve never been fond of packing; hoping the library volunteers get the Chromebook carts out to the correct classrooms at the correct time. What kind of food am I going to leave for my husband (who doesn’t cook!) and son so they don’t starve while I’m gone? I know I’m going to miss my dog…These are just some reasons I might decide to save my sanity and not attend the OELMA conference. I never do that however and am always glad that I go…Here are some reasons:

1. Networking: We’re very lucky to work in our field and not so lucky at the same time. We all know that the job of a library professional can be a lonely one. Twice I have worked in districts that are so small that I am the only licensed librarian-the one I work for now included. It’s great to get out and meet my like-minded colleagues, authors, and exhibitors. All very important to a library media specialists’ position.

2. Professional Development: I have never attended a conference and not learned at least two things. I always find myself going back to my school and adopting something that I have learned either that year or past years. My fellow colleagues are very wise and are full of creative ideas. New this year at the conference is a live webinar hosted by INFOhio. This webinar will feature Elaine Fultz from Madison Local Schools as she talks about creating a reading culture in your school using INFOhio. I will definitely be attending this session and the best part is even the people that can’t be at the conference can attend as well!

3. Free Stuff: I admit…I love to get free stuff and there always seems to be a selection of great stuff on the exhibitor tables that I take back with me. Pens, pads of papers even candy. It’s all appreciated even if I carry it around and use it later in the future.

4. Friends: Again, we are so lucky to work in our field. I have colleagues that I also consider my friends and they are all over the state of Ohio. I only get to see some of them once a year, at the OELMA conference. Socializing with these people gives me a sense of belonging to a group. As Simon Sinek states it in his book Leaders Eat Last, being social releases our oxytocin or “chemical love.” This is the feeling that we get when we’re in the company of our most trusted colleagues or closest friends. My oxytocin levels are always at their highest at the OELMA conference.

5. Fun: Let’s face it we all love to have fun. This year’s conference is highlighting many fun events. From the pre-conference on BreakoutEDU by Angela Wojtecki and Trent Roberts to the fun librarian fashion show on Friday morning, there promises to be many wonderful memories made at this years’ conference!

See you all at conference!