Extending the Learning – ULA Conference 2017

As the trainer for the Salt Lake City Public Library system, I love conferences. They are a great place to learn, grow and meet new friends. One dilemma I always face though, is how do you transfer what you learned at the conference into daily practice? And how can you share the information gained across the organization? At SLCPL my solution has been to encourage our staff to present a “spark talk.” A spark talk is a short (4-6 minute) recorded presentation summarizing one great session they attended. The spark talk helps the presenter gain a deeper understanding of the topic, because it requires that they spend time reviewing their notes and further researching the topic. In addition to sharing knowledge with colleagues, the videos also serve as a call to action to anyone else at the library with interests in the topic. But why describe Spark Talks when I can just share examples? Here are two that cover some of the great session from this year’s conference.

Allied at the Library

Book a Librarian

Shout out to Michael Cox, Spring Lavallee and Salvador Oregon who were the original presenters of Allied at the Library at the ULA conference and also to Dory Cochran and Alex Sundt who presented Book a Librarian 2.0. Thanks to all of you for inspiring us!

From the Desk of Patrick Hoecherl: 2 Weeks to Choose Your Own Adventure!

It’s nearly here, ULA 2017, Choose Your Own Adventure!  Those who know me, know I’m excited about pretty much everything and this year’s ULA Conference is no exception. In particular I’m excited about the theme. I grew up reading Choose Your Own Adventures Books. I still vividly remember the feeling of awe and accomplishment I felt the one (and only) time my choices in Journey Under the Sea (Choose Your Own Adventure #2) let me escape Atlantis alive.


Hopefully none of our choices at this year’s conference will be quite so life and death as those young Patrick faced in Journey Under the Sea, however it is my hope that this year’s conference will be full of tough choices for you. For example, look at the very last time slot of the conference, Friday at 2:30. Your choices include sessions about: librarian’s favorite apps, ways to keep your library relevant, tips for getting hired at a library, transforming spaces and environmental branding, teaching tech, how to host a teen movie party, and the new Beehive Books. As far as I can tell the only bad option is going home early!


Don’t worry you’re not the only one with tough choices. The conference planning committee had to make a ton of them. We had 129 sessions submitted this year, but only 72 spots available. We combined sessions where we could, but ultimately some great sessions were declined for want of time in the day. Making those choices wasn’t easy, but because of that abundance of choice we have a great conference. When making our selections we focused on the feedback we received from last year’s conference. You requested more Children’s and Teen sessions? There is at least one Children’s AND one Teen session in every time slot – seems appropriate for the Choose Your Own Adventure conference, right? You requested career and interviewing sessions? We’ve sprinkled some sessions throughout the conference and have put together a career services booth in the exhibit hall that will be staffed by HR professionals. Technical services sessions? Check! Digital libraries? Ditto.


You’ll have lots of choices at this year’s conference, I hope all of yours are good. Just don’t surface too quickly, you’ll get the bends and have to start the book over again.


Make sure to plan your conference online at https://2017utahlibraryassociationconfer.sched.com/ (you will need to create a free account). Or you can take a look at the PDF  of the full conference sessions!

ULA Conference 2017 – So Many Adventures, Which One Will You Choose?

Don’t miss out on the adventure, ULA Conference early registration ends on Monday, April 10th at midnight.

Follow this link to see the excellent pre-conference and session choices ULA 2017 offers.

You can also explore the program on sched.com (the schedule is public; if you would like to mark sessions you are attending, you will have to sign up for a free account or use your account info from last year).

Questions? Contact Jessica Breiman at jessica.breiman@utah.edu or Tommy Hamby at thamby@slcpl.org