New York Library Association Conference 2017

This is a guest post from scholarship recipient Kathy Smith, a member of the Design for Learning community.

NYLA’s annual conference was held in Saratoga Springs November 8-11th.

Choose Your Own Adventure was the theme for NYLA’s 2017 annual conference. My adventure: I attended as a presenter. It began when I joined the D4L panel discussion Librarians Learning Online to Teach Online. I also responded to a call for Lightning Round presenters. Lightning Round is a presentation methodology in which 28 slides are shown for 15 seconds each (7 minutes in total).

This past summer while visiting my father-in-law in Omaha Nebraska, I was finally able to visit Do Space. My brother-in-law had been telling me about this amazing collaboration between a community college and public library.

Do Space, which opened Nov. 7, 2015, is a digital library where members can use computers and other technology to learn, to teach or to just have fun. It has recorded 171,000 visits and more than 30,000 members. The space gets 500 to 800 daily visits.  Community Information Trust runs the facility, collaborating with the public library and community college. There are over 200 computers, 4 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters and a host of innovative learning spaces. See it all at

In a strange twist when I got home and contacted the Do Space director, she did not want me to present anything about Do Space at NYLA. She felt I would misrepresent myself as being a part of Do space. That wasn’t my intent. In the end, I changed the focus of my Lightning round from Do Space to Creative Collaborations.

Presentation day. I was surprised that one of the Lightning Round presenters was so nervous she wasn’t sure if she would be able to present. Another admitted butterflies in their stomach. I always think that the audience is on my side. They had a choice to attend and they choose to be there.

I’m up first. The podium was on a platform. When the room was set up someone didn’t bring the portable stairs needed to get onto the platform. I have a disability and knew that standing on a chair to get on the platform was not an option for me. Time for Plan B.  I was given a microphone to use and stood on the floor. Now I was in front of the screen and couldn’t see my slides. If I had made it onto the platform I would have seen my sides moving on the computer screen. With my paper script in hand I gave my presentation.

Presenters were asked to bring a poster of their sessions and a handout. I was pleased to see that 48 of my sixty handouts were gone.

I learned those 15 seconds per slide fly by.

Even though I had practiced, I felt I had too much information per slide.

Some of the other presenters were less wordy and their presentation seemed to flow better than mine. I would work on that in the future

Next it was on to Librarians Learning Online to Teach Online where I was a panel member. This presentation went much better.  I was able to see my slides and gave my presentation from memory. It enhances a presentation when you don’t need to look at or read from notes.

Each time I give a presentation I enjoy it more and continue to have new ideas about how to improve my presentation skills. I would encourage you to go on your own adventure, explore new possibilities and give a presentation.

I explored my wild side by participating in NYLA After Dark. Billed as trivia you’ll admit to knowing, but not voluntarily was certainly true. It was a fund raiser for the NYLA Disaster Relief Fund. My team had a great time even though we came in second, losing by one point.

The downside of NYLA was the vendor show. It was supposed to run until 3:30pm on Friday. I got there at noon on Friday and it was practically deserted. Most of the vendors had gone.

D4L provided me with a scholarship to attend NYLA. I’d like to thank them for this amazing adventure.

Video presentation from Librarians Learning Online to Teach Online.

Creative Collaborations Handouts

Questions: Please contact me @

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