luggage-1033000_640If you told me 10 years ago that I would be reflecting on a library conference, I would have said you were crazy.

At age 15, I reluctantly accepted an entry-level, part time position at the Toccoa-Stephens County Public Library. After one week of working, I was no longer reluctant, but delighted. I found where I belonged. Now, eight years later, I am a full time Library Assistant and Adult Programming Coordinator, eager to learn more and better serve our community.

As a small rural library, only managers have been offered the chance to attend Georgia COMO in the past. When the GPLS COMO Travel Grant was offered this year, I was very enthusiastic to apply! Our manager’s application was selected and she chose to send me.

At COMO, I attended 12 workshops, volunteered at the scholarship raffle booth, and participated in the Pat Carterette Memorial Walk. I most looked forward to “Create and Share Reading Lists in PINES” and “Racing to Read 5k,” and they did not disappoint! I have been able to create several useful reading lists in PINES and show others how to do the same. As admin of the library’s Facebook page, I plan to share lists for different seasons and upcoming programs. The 5k session was very thorough, covering everything from how to set up on race day to how to ask for sponsors. This workshop came at a good time, as I am planning for our first Adult Summer Reading Program. A 5k or Fun Run will be a fun activity to go along with the fitness theme of 2016: “Exercise your Mind. Read!”

Though most of the workshops did not target small or rural libraries specifically, I was able to learn something from all 15 workshops. Some such as “Integrating BYOD Devices into the Library” opened my eyes to large libraries and the innovative technology they use.

I was pleasantly surprised by two workshops: “Helping Job Seekers, Test Takers, and Other Learners with LearningExpress”, and “Help!! There’s a Genealogist at the Desk”.  Before COMO, I had not explored LearningExpress, but after the site tour, I learned what a helpful website it will be for our community, with many people in need of resume and job-search assistance. I did not originally plan on attending the Genealogy session, but after hearing an announcement for it and a further description, I decided to join. I’m so glad I did! It was very informative and applicable to our library. I even won a Genealogy book to add to our collection!

COMO provided me with a great first experience at a library conference. I look forward to attending more training and further assisting our community through our library. Thank you, GPLS!

Sarah Edmonds
Toccoa-Stephens County Public Library

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Editor’s note: this post is just one in a series of reports from attendees at GaCOMO. Find more information about GaCOMO here: http://www.georgiacomo.org/

Find more information about GALILEO and LearningExpress here: http://www.galileo.usg.edu/