In October 2020, NNLM financially supported 20 library staff across the country to attend the 15th annual Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) conference. Originally slated for Dallas, TX, the conference was retooled as a virtual event due to Covid-19. Most attendees agreed that there were actually benefits to the online format. NNLM All of Us presented at the conference and continues to work with ABOS on health outreach initiatives. Here, 3 Pacific Southwest Region scholarship recipients outline favorite moments, and what they took away from the ABOS conference.
Katie Ball, Special Projects Associate, Sacramento Public Library (CA)In my position at the Sacramento Public Library, I work in the Community Engagement Department, overseeing our Health Literacy and veteran related programming. In looking at all of the presentations at this year’s ABOS Conference, I was pleased to see so many offerings related to the work that I do. I appreciated the inclusion of workshops focused on serving the aging population. One of my current project centers around brain health and dementia education, and the workshops Tales and Travel Memories and Lifelong Learning for Older Adults and Those with Disabilities, Remember When: Reminiscence Groups with Older Adults, and Friends in Rural Places: Dementia-Friendly Community Initiative were particularly helpful. I have been eager to start a Memory Café program in our system, and the information from the Tales and Travel and the Reminiscence Groups workshops provided great outlines for potential activities that would appeal to caregivers and those who are living with dementia. The workshop, Roll Call! How Libraries Can Serve the Veterans Who Served Our Country, was helpful in brainstorming how to connect with veterans in the community, how to utilize volunteers for veteran related programming, and how to work with veteran focused organizations in my area. I look forward to using the information learned to grow programs for our veteran patrons.
This was my first ABOS Conference experience and I hope it won’t be my last. For the first virtual version of this conference, I thought it was well-executed, manageable, and engaging. I gathered many resources, including contacts at other libraries, helpful websites, and ideas for how to improve our programming. Being new to the library field, I appreciated the opportunity to immerse myself in this arena and learn from others who have created successful community programs in their systems.
Jennifer Siron, Senior Librarian of Engagement and Outreach at the Los Angeles Public Library (CA)The 2020 Virtual ABOS conference was my first time attending any ABOS conference. I found it to be well planned and executed, and I am so grateful to have been selected for the Carol Hole award so I could attend this year. The workshops were informational and very inspiring. As we are navigating through these uncertain times, it was comforting to hear we are not alone, and many systems are working hard toward continuing library service to our communities.
Sharon Coronado, Coordinating Librarian, Adult Services, County of San Luis Obispo (CA)
The 2020 ABOS Conference “Out-Doing Outreach” was In-credible! Since NLM sponsored my attendance, this award freed up opportunities for other staff to attend. All of us were ABOS conference first-timers. There were nine outreach staff from our library system who attended the conference. Everyone was excited to attend and came away with new ideas for outreach. Attendance also introduced staff to ABOS and they are now part of the listserv information sharing community.
Our library was awarded a CA State Library “Bringing the Library to You” grant. This grant award will help us to outfit a mobile library to visit senior care facilities. The Adult Services Department will schedule lobby stops to senior care facilities where we will bring resources to seniors to browse and checkout. Senior health care and telehealth resources will be a vital component to complement our outreach services. One major takeaway from the session NNLM & All of Us: Opportunities to Engage with Your Community Around Health Information was the community collaboration piece. The suggestions of local agencies to partner with will help to expand these efforts to serve seniors where they are. The impact this will have will be twofold: Adult Services librarians will become aware of vital resources to share with our communities when performing outreach throughout the county; and our library system will contribute to the All of Us project goal to help speed up medical research.
We hope to implement the NNLM Health Kiosks program into our branches in the future, and we plan to participate in the NNLM Reading Club. We will include our county public health department in bringing a holistic health experience in 2021 and beyond, including hyper local resources and book discussions in line with the National Health Observances calendar.
Additional valuable information from All of Us presentations was the exposure to UBR or Underrepresented in Biomedical Research populations. These are the communities that libraries strive to serve, and we are now able to spotlight health programs specific to this demographic with a more clear understanding of resources available and challenges that these communities face. We are excited to get started in bringing resources that lead to the overall wellbeing of our communities. Thank you, NLM!