Way Out West

I have been in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this week for the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) annual meeting. The Wyoming state librarian was our host and she arranged for beautiful weather, a visit to tJack Rabbithe fabulous National Museum of Wildlife Art, moose sightings, truffles made by a rodeo cowboy turned chocolatier and a visit from Wyoming’s senior Senator.

This is one of my favorite meetings of the year. We spend two and a half days working and sharing together. In addition to nearly all 50 state librarians there are reports from and discussions with folks from the American Library Association,  Institute of Museum and Library Services, WebJunction, and the Aspen Institute. The highlights for me were:

  • A discussion of the report on public libraries from the Aspen Institute, Rising to the Challenge. I hope you will all take a look at the executive summary and then read the entire report. This should trigger many a discussion about the role of public libraries.
  • Remarks from Karen Keninger who is the director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped who provide all the materials for our Talking Book and Braille Library. She has made substantial change at NLS in her short time there.
  • A discussion of the Edge Initiative (no, we still don’t have pricing information) that reminded me of just how much work Darci Hanning has done to encourage and assist Oregon public libraries in participating.
  • After working hours discussions  (with an adult beverage or two) with other state librarians who are as excited and energized about the work we are doing in libraries as I am.

Tomorrow I am off to another Jackson, Jackson County, for the Southern Oregon Library Federation meeting at the Medford Branch of the Jackson County Library District. I’ll have a report next week.

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