Letter from Recent RASS Award Winner

Outstanding Public Service Award Winner
Conference Report


Alison Herrero
Howland Public Library
313 Main Street
Beacon, NY 12508

November 12, 2008

Dear Ms. Emerson,

I thank both you and RASS for giving me the wonderful opportunity to attend the 2008 NYLA conference. At this unique gathering of library professionals from across New York State, I was able to witness all that is remarkable about our profession. I got to see first-hand the free flow of information - and creativity – in action. The programs I attended and the people I met were fantastic. It was difficult to choose from so many worthwhile programs, but I attempted to select a wide variety of topic areas from technology to reference to human response. I also picked some programs simply because they looked so cool and intriguing! Highlights of the sessions follow.

Related to technology, I attended a continuing education course titled, "130 Web Tips, Tricks, Tools and Resources in 160 Minutes." The presenter was a high-energy guy who had us all laughing and oo-ing and ah-ing as he rapidly showed us incredible computer tool after computer tool. At the "Wiki Technology…"program, I learned the value of a wiki as both a stimulus to collaborate with co-workers and as a way to retain knowledge in the workplace. 

I honed my reference skills at the "…Patent and Trademark Questions" program, where I learned about currently available resources. Who knew that it isn’t just inventors who need copyright and patent information? Family historians, and guitar players hoping to trademark the name of their new band, seek answers, too. Another session, "Digesting History: Using Cookbooks and Restaurant Menus for Research," focused on how a seemingly simple diner menu contains a goldmine of regional and cultural memory.

During "Multiple Intelligences Revisted" and "Library as Third Place," I learned how the different personality facets inherent in each individual will respond favorably to different aspects of a library’s physical surroundings. Library design that uses color, sunlight, and has separate areas distinct in feel, creates an environment that beckons community members. 

Even more impressive than the high caliber of the presentations was the camaraderie and energy I felt by being with my colleagues. In the "RASS-berries, Bagels and Roundtables" session, I was part of a small group discussion where ideas and experiences were shared candidly. What a warm and generous group! I am proud to be a part of the RASS section of NYLA and honored to be the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Public Service Award.

While volunteering at the NMRT booth, I had the opportunity to meet several fellow volunteers, as well as the chance to re-connect with some old friends. Walking through the trade show, I got to do the same – see familiar faces and meet new ones. 

I also had the pleasure of seeing Joshua Cohen, Director of the Mid-Hudson Library System, become the new President of NYLA. It was an especially exciting moment for me and everyone else who is a part of this wonderful library system.

Attending the 2008 NYLA conference was an invaluable experience which cemented in my mind the idea that we are all part of a profession that relies upon progressive action and collaboration to succeed. I’m glad to be a part of it. 


Alison E. Herrero
Adult Services Librarian, Howland Public Library, Beacon, NY