Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Early Bird Registration Ends June 17th!

Early Bird registration is going on for the SSD conference for a few more days- until June 17th! Register now to take advantage of savings.

If you can't make Early Bird, never fear! Registration is open until July 14th. But for a conference being held at the home of the Ducks (University of Oregon) it only seems appropriate to swoop in now and save.

You can find more details about the conference on the registration page or on our conference page. For any questions please email the conference committee.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Registration for the OLA SSD Conference now open

That's right folks, the time to register for the SSD conference has come around once again!

Details about the conference and pricing information can be found on the 2017 conference page. When you're ready to register, head to the registration page and log in! If you're an OLA member, you should automatically see your reduced pricing.

If you have any questions or something doesn't look right, as always you can drop us a line at and we'd be happy to help you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The 2017 Support Staff Division Conference : Coming soon!

We are excited that this year's conference is going to be in Eugene at the University of Oregon. Go Ducks! We're thrilled to be returning to a more Southern Oregonian location once again. July is just around the corner, believe it or not!

Like last year, we will be offering some diversity in the format of our sessions, so you can pick and choose which will work best for you. In addition to traditional presentations, we will be offering panels organized under a theme, with several panelists who can speak to their particular area of expertise and plenty of time for moderated discussion. Our panels' themes will be:

  • Accessibility. Providing space and service is good, but providing space and service to everyone is better.
  • Scheduling of all kinds. It can be easy to forget how important the logistics of scheduling staff, space, and other scheduling efforts, but here we'll be focusing in on it.
  • Serving vulnerable populations. A topic that should matter to us all!

We are very excited about our traditional presentations this year as well:

  • We all have new questions and problems to solve in this day and age. Our session on misinformation and political propaganda will hopefully help us all navigate the new politics and media landscape. 
  • How well are you adapting to the changes we are all facing as support staff in the library field? A session on change management may be just the ticket to give you the skills you need to ride the wave.
  • Coming up with good service habits for the average user is a smart move, but how to help people who have different needs? In our "Responding to and Assisting People with Unique Needs" session, you'll be able to add to that service toolkit. 

This year you'll also be seeing the return of an old favorite. Get ready for the comeback of the very popular Day in the Life session, where several of your fellow support staffers will run you through a day of their challenges, wins, and clever workarounds.

If any of this sounds good to you, clear your calendars for July 28th! Registration will be announced soon, so watch for more news and information on that front in the coming weeks.

Questions? Thoughts? Feel free to shoot us an email at We'll see you in Eugene!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Skeptical Supervisors- how to talk about getting involved

So you've thought about it, you've been following the blog, and you've decided it's time to take the plunge and add your skills to the SSD pool. Welcome! You're going to love it around here.

One problem: how do you talk to your boss about taking on extra duties in addition to your already busy day? At first blush, it can sound like a tough sell. But never fear, because we've got a few tips and tricks for showing the benefits to a skeptical supervisor. Take this list, tailor it to your supervisor's concerns, and maybe you can bring them around!

I had a chat with Nancy Horner, the Adult Services Manager at the Eugene Public Library and supervisor of our very own Margaret Harmon-Myers, to see why she is so supportive of her staff's involvement with SSD and similar groups. She supervises eleven paraprofessional staff and ten librarians (soon to be eleven), so she has had lots of experience with support staff and how being involved can benefit a supervisor and the institution. Here's what she had to say:

  1. Getting involved "builds knowledge that increases confidence and pleasure in work." And when you like your work, you're better at it, happier, and more able to expand your skills.
  2. Support staffers who learn outside the workplace can bring back and share the things they learn, compounding the benefits across the entire staff. Nancy mentioned that among the many things her staff has brought in, she has especially appreciated the programming ideas, new services for their patrons, and improvements to the processes already in place. Often, her staff are able to "teach the teacher" so to speak, enhancing her work as well.
  3. When new equipment or services are offered in Eugene Public, it's often her staff who take the lead in instructing patrons in their use. In their new makerspace, her staff both created and implemented much of the teaching material for the public. Nancy thinks that getting involved was pivotal for giving her staff the confidence and know-how needed for the project. 
  4. Scheduling time for outside-the-library work has turned out to be pretty simple for Nancy and her staff. Their approach has been to use a flex-time model (made with guidance from the union her staff are a part of), which allows the library to easily compensate everyone for all their work regardless of whether that work takes place outside of regular hours. In their system, ALL professional development is considered work time.
  5. My last question for her was whether she had anything she'd like to say directly to a supervisor with worries about their staff getting involved with SSD. I'll let her speak for herself: "I would beg them to put those worries aside. The benefits to the institution, the people we serve, and colleagues are impossible to count. We should celebrate anytime anyone wants to increase their knowledge. It's always a gain. If anyone's on an upward path it becomes a rising tide that lifts all boats. Really, an inspiration. All of the paraprofessionals on our staff inspire one another and grow stronger as a team in everything that they do."
I couldn't have said it better myself. According to Nancy, Margaret is an exceptional support staffer, even receiving an award for service from OLA at Nancy's recommendation. To me, that stands as a testament to both her work ethic and commitment as well as the power of getting involved. Put simply, being an SSD member makes you a better employee, and we can make sure your daily work is minimally impacted to boot.

Have questions? Want advice in your specific situation? Drop us a line at and we'll be happy to help!