The Kansas Library Association conference, in conjunction with the Kansas Association of School Librarians, was held in Wichita on Oct. 25-27. Meeting rooms were filled with librarians of all ages. They came to hear about changes in the library world, gear up for the 2018 Librarians Rock! Summer Reading program and connect with each other.

On Wednesday of the conference, Pleasanton Lincoln Library was well represented by author Ken Robert Baugh and Director Wendy Morlan. Baugh’s successful book reading last December during our Music on Main! Jam Session, prompted the suggestion for him to speak at the Friends of Kansas Libraries (FoKL) luncheon Oct. 25. The conference theme “Libraries Transform Learning,” was inclusive of public, as well as academic libraries.

FoKL members tweaked our theme to accommodate our membership booth. Our theme, “Transforming Literary Frontiers” gave us the opportunity to feature Kansas Carnegie public libraries. These were built with grants from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie between 1900 and 1921. Fifty-nine of these libraries were built across Kansas in small rural towns which would otherwise not have such facilities. Consequently, his funds thus helped transform the literary frontier. In addition to a power point presentation that includes all 59 libraries, our booth featured a large 1918 map indicating the locations of the libraries. FoKL members hoped this presentation would attract visitors to the booth, and could also be utilized as a program at libraries.

Those with special memories of visits to Carnegie libraries were invited to share them in writing. Notecards of six selected Carnegie libraries were available at the booth for interested shoppers. A drawing was held for a fictional book about Carnegie libraries titled, “To the Stars Through Difficulties,” by Romalyn Tilghman. We have a copy of this book at our library available to checkout.

At our western-themed luncheon, Ken “Cowboy” Baugh spoke to attendees about the hardships of ranching. His early one-room schoolhouse learning prompted his love of books, which he feels are critical to a successful education.

While the conference is intended to inspire and educate librarians, it also gives us the opportunity to meet and share information with each other. Many of these librarians work in libraries in small Kansas communities, so this chance to connect is a welcome annual event.