I really enjoyed PLA. There were good programs, good company, and good food. It is nice to be able to go to a conference where I actually had to chose between programs every session. Highlights included:
Reader's Advisory for Teens program- Helped confirm that I'm doing things right, and gave me some new hints.
Game Studio program- The Minneapolis Library is using a really cool program called Scratch. It is a free program that you can use to program/make some things of various types, i.e. games, videos, or other things. It uses some of the same code that the old Logo programming language used, but now the scripts are written in blocks that the user just has to select and stack. Projects are uploaded onto the Scratch website, where there's an online community like YouTube or Flickr. People can download projects to look at the coding. Minneapolis Library has a regular program where they have teens teaching other teens how to use Scratch.
Dealing with Teens Virtually- Respect the teens and respect their use of the net. Don't make the teens always come to you and your space, go to them in their's. Those two sentences sum up most of the important stuff from this program, though we also talked about ways to reach teens. Meebo, texting, e-mail, Flickr, blogs, and MySpace are just a few of the things we talked about.
Those are just a few of the programs I went to, and a very few of the ideas I picked up. Lots more to think about, consider, and do. I've gotten permission to start a blog for my teens to review books, movies, and music in. Maybe an online book group will happen as well in the future.
In a side note about PLA and to the organizers: If you are going to have a "paperless" conference, stop the daily newspapers or print them on demand, and even more importantly, don't give everyone books they don't want. This is one of three like it at the end of the conference.