Last week I attended the Michigan Library Association's Spring Institute. If you live in the Midwest, it is definitely worth checking out! I came out with a lot of notes, new ideas, and networking connections. So what do you do after you get back from a conference?
First, I take the weekend off. While I know that this sounds funny, I just spent the past couple of days attached to my iPad and iPhone, between taking notes, posting Tweets, or connecting with other librarians. I needed two days of tech detox.
When I get back to work, after clearing the mountainous pile of emails and voicemails, I take a look at my notes. Luckily they are already typed up for me (I use the app CloudOn, which connects to my Google Drive account). I start off by adding in program descriptions so I can look at them in the future. I add in anything that I missed, such as web sites. Since I am a big fan of taking pictures of cool displays or ideas with my phone, I add those pictures right into the notes too. Here is what my notes look like. Now they make sense if I pass them on to my coworkers or look at them again in 6 months.
Then it is time to make sense of my random notes and brainstorming. Sometimes programs spark other ideas that I write down. Above is what my notes look like. As you can see, there is no order to them (some are even upside down)-that is the point of brainstorming.
Finally, what are you going to do with the new information? While listening to programs, everything sounds cool and you are excited to try everything. Once you are back in the real world, you can pull out what has stayed with you. What do you have the staff/funds/time to put into place? Can you take part of an idea and implement it? This is the fun part! Most of us don't attend conferences and stay in a vacuum-we want to try new things.