This week, I’m “attending” the virtual Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) Annual Conference. The Southwestern Chapter of PaLA is hosting the 2021 conference. (Until it was forced to go virtual, it was going to be held in Monroeville.) The theme is “Hello, Neighbor.” The opening Keystone Address was given by Dr. Dana Winters from the Fred Rogers Center. I must say, I think it was the best, most inspiring and uplifting keynote address I’ve ever heard at a conference.
The emphasis in the opening address and much of the conference is on the power of kindness, the value of community, and the importance of trying to make the world a better place. I believe that kindness is powerful and important, and that trying to bring people together despite their differences is preferable to seeking to “divide and conquer.”
As a librarian, my goal is to welcome, to affirm, to be helpful, to empower, to be kind and neighborly. I can’t say that I do it perfectly, or even particularly well, being a very imperfect human being. I can even think of a few instances when I failed miserably. However, the conference is an opportunity to rededicate myself to those goals. If you come into the library, I hope we can be helpful by providing accurate and useful information, education/training, assistance, entertainment, support, and friendliness – all those good things. The training – in a variety of subjects – that I’m receiving through the conference will, hopefully, make me more competent in those efforts.
Community is important. We are here to serve the community. If you have ideas how we can do a better job of that, please let us know. Circumstances and lack of resources may sometimes limit what we can do, but we’ll make our best effort to meet the needs that are present. How can we be a better, more helpful, neighbor?
Our latest effort to be helpful involves hosting a Suicide Prevention Resource Collection, partnering with the Somerset County Suicide Prevention Task Force. They funded a set of books, and we are providing a space for the public to access them, and borrow them. There are also brochures which may be taken and kept. We hope that this collection will help our neighbors, and even help save lives.
Have a good week, neighbors!
The Library Lady