The 6th Annual TALA Paraprofessional Conference was held on May 14, 2019 at Winston-Salem State University.  Here are some thoughts from some of the attendees from the Z. Smith Reynolds Library:

One session that I enjoyed from the TALA conference was on Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace which was led by Sharon Hill of Winston Salem State University.

Hill mentioned that the five attributes of emotional intelligence, otherwise known as EQ were self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

She said that the secrets to be emotionally intelligent were to choose to stick to the facts in any given situation and don’t apply meaning that may not be present to that situation.

In order to develop emotional intelligence you must have a mind shift and Hill said how difficult it was to teach yourself emotional intelligence. She was a very engaging speaker and for me that was a standout session of the conference.   ~Bradley Podair

One of the most enjoyable sessions I attended was Take the Junk Out the Trunk: Breaking Down Stereotypes in Getting to know Students Organically. The presentation was designed to help recognize our subconscious biases through role-playing, and problem-solving. It was very informative.  ~Linda Ziglar

One of the most enjoyable sessions I attended was Zip, Zop, Zap. I wasn’t sure what to expect in this session, but it was very engaging and fun.  We used impromptu movement and the games to reflect how we pass energy among each other in the workplace. It made me think more about being aware of my colleague’s body language and facial expressions when approaching them and when asking for help. It doesn’t take, but a second to evaluate a space and energy and realize that if you do not get the response you were expecting, it may not be because of you, but maybe your colleague is dealing with something, so don’t take it personal. ~Monesha Staton-Fluker

This was my second visit to the TALA conference, and my first opportunity to give a presentation there. Unlike some other conferences, TALA feels personal. I believe that is its strength. Although I’ve only been a library worker here in the area for a few years, I’m starting to recognize more and more familiar faces, and I enjoy seeing the skills that my colleagues have to share. They can often be underappreciated. I enjoyed my experience as a presenter as well, and I’m excited to see if other student supervisors can use or adapt some of the ideas I brought with me this year. ~Jon Moore

This year’s TALA Conference seemed to have more energy than past years and offered some insightful sessions. My favorite was, “Take the Junk out of the Trunk: Breaking Down Stereotypes in Getting to Know Students Organically.” We separated into groups and talked about the definition of implicit biases and then how those could affect your workplace environment. It was very interesting to hear the different perspectives and the session really made me think. It was suggested that we may unconsciously offer different levels of service depending upon the departmental affiliation of our patron: facilities, food service, technology, etc.  Other biases that were suggested included cultural stereotypes, assumptions of affirmative action, ageism, and judgements based on the use of slang vs. a “professional” voice. This session had me saying to myself, “Hmmm, I never thought about it that way.” And that, for me, is the mark of a good conference. ~Ellen Makaravage

I attended the  Zip! Zap! Zop!: Improv in Libraries. It was  about focus and energy. We learned how to pass the energy across the circle (in the form of a Zip, a Zap, or a Zop), we made eye contact with the person that we were  sending  the energy to, and work together to keep the rhythm going. The activity also provides an opportunity to explore pace, specificity of choice, “energy” and sequence.   ~Tara Hauser

WSSU was so welcoming and well-organized. The Donald J. Reaves Student Activities Center, where we met, was beautiful and perfect for a conference.   ~Charles Bombeld

“Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace” – Sharon D. Hill (WSSU)

I enjoyed Sharon Hill’s lively presentation on emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and control one’s emotions. Some beneficial attributes of EQ include;

  • Self awareness
  • Self regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

Leaders must master these skills in order to develop a successful work environment.

~Renee Berry

Top and foremost the best thing about this year’s TALA was getting to spend a little time with Wanda Brown. It was great seeing her again and how well she is doing. This year I attended two of what I would call self-help sessions, Emotional Intelligence and Getting Your Groove Back. Both shared a common theme which was that each of us are in control of our lives, or, as one session put it, “drivers of our bus”.  Lately my life has felt a little out of balance and even though neither session really gave me an “aha moment” each reminded me of things I already knew which helped bring be back into focus. Overall I thought it was a very good conference this year with many good sessions to pick from. Looking forward to next year.  ~Tim Mitchell

I attended the Take the Junk Out Trunk: How Implicit Bias Affects the Workplace facilitated by Sharnette Evans and India Page of WSSU. The presentation was engaging, thought provoking, and funny. I learned that there are over 150 different types of implicit biases. Bottom line, we usually accept information that confirms our prior beliefs and choose to ignore or discredit information that does not. We all got a lot of work to overcome our implicit biases.  ~Travis Manning

TALA 2019 was my first time at TALA, and my first time at a library related conference! I was really impressed with the way that everyone was excited to share and help each other, there was a strong sense of camaraderie within the library workers there. WSSU campus is beautiful and created a great atmosphere for the conference, and the conference planning made everything seamless. I made several meaningful connections with people at other regional libraries, and I appreciate having the venue to encourage this. I did a talk on Marketing the Library, and I feel like it was a success since a handful of people asked for more information and chatted after the talk!   ~Celeste Holcomb

I found the TALA Conference to be very informative. It was great spending the day with my ZSR Library colleagues.  My favorite session was Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace by Sharon D. Hill (WSSU).  It was inspiring to hear how possessing emotional intelligence impacted Sharon’s life in such a dramatic and positive way. She mentioned that 58% of your daily success depends on EI.  You have to have a mind shift!  This was my second year as a member of the conference planning committee.  ~Kristen Morgan

I had a great time attending this year’s TALA Conference.  Two sessions that I enjoyed were “Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace” and “Getting Your Groove Back.”  Both presentations pointed out ways to improve workplace performance (and everyday life) by making simple changes to the way you think.  I found these sessions to be informative and motivational.  ~Kylie Bradley