Library Island w/ Matt Finch (Grove City, PA, June 5 2019)

On Tuesday June 4, 2019, I got the opportunity to participate in a full day of continuing education at the Intermediate Unit 4 in Grove City, PA with Matt Finch, an all around great human being whose work in museums and libraries has been inspiring me for quite a few years. I first heard of Matt through my friends and colleagues Rachael and Jerome Rivera many years ago and since then we’ve struck up some great conversation over Twitter and in person. I was very impressed by his Library Island project and wanted to bring that experience to my area, so after an email to a few people who could make this happen and some planning Library Island and Matt Finch came to Western Pennsylvania in June 2019! Thanks to everyone who made this happen.

These days I have become a librarian who absolutely loathes most workshops and presentations, opting instead to fill up my time working directly with my community or just sticking around my house in the gardens. While there are good workshops and presentations out there, I feel like the majority of them over the past 5 years have fell into a tired template of predictable buzzwords, slides full of memes, and numerous other conference and workshop tropes. With Library Island, I felt differently about it from the moment I heard about it. Change?!?! Chaos?!?!? Games?!?!? Play?!?!?! Fun?!?!? What was this? Why were people smiling and moving around during this workshop? Library Island offered something different, a workshop that brought together learning with fun and unpredictability. At the end of the day with Library Island I was physically and mentally tired, but in a good way, a way I hadn’t felt in ages. I needed to get home and get to bed to recover, but my humming head wouldn’t let me fully put down the great experience I just had.

I took a few pages of notes throughout the day (which you can browse below) but the best moments and understanding of what Library Island is won’t come from those…it comes from the actual physical and mental experience. I don’t have the ability to beam the entire day on Library Island to you, but I can say that it was easily the best and most enriching workshop experience I’ve ever had. When you’re physically and mentally worn out from a workshop but can’t go to sleep because you keep having ideas you know you’re onto something good.

I hope everyone reading enjoys this post and looks into hosting their own version of Library Island with Matt. If you’re into this (and I think you will be if you’re reading this blog), contact Matt here.

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