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Two full-day Library Symposiums – one in Medford on April 17 and one in Klamath Falls April 18 – reached more than 80 library staff and provided training on topics from weeding outdated books to adding diverse books to school library collections.

Attendees came away with a wealth of new knowledge, along with new hardcover books for their collections and a tote bag one attendee called “fabulous”. “The book talks were fantastic and I loved the fresh ideas for my space! Well worth the time,” another library staff member said.

Sponsored by Southern Oregon Education Services District, the library events were organized by four contract librarians: Marie Fegentrager, Thomas Moll, Michelle Wardrip, and Miranda Doyle. Other presenters included Jen Maurer, the school library consultant for the State of Oregon, and several public librarians, who did a series of booktalks and shared their library resources. The training sessions were open to any interested librarians and paraprofessionals.

“I especially appreciated the session taught by Jen Maurer on collection development, emphasizing ‘windows and mirrors,’ recognizing bias, representation, etc.  We need to hear that again and again,” one symposium attendee commented.

A grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the State Library of Oregon provided a professional book called “Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids“ to each participant, at least one diverse book of their choice, and also treated attendees to coffee and working breakfast/lunches during the symposiums.

In addition to the presentations, library staff from around Southern Oregon took this rare chance to gather and network. “The interaction and discussion with other library workers was also useful as it’s not an opportunity that arises often,” one person in attendance commented. “Good mix of learning, bonding, and asking how others have done things.”

Another noted, “The camaraderie was really nice, especially the appreciation for paraprofessionals like me.”

Special thanks to SOESD Administrative Assistant Nancy Hayes, who took care of all the details for both events (including the sought-after tote bags), and to Mark Angle-Hobson, SOESD Director of School Improvement Services, who made all of it possible.

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