Monday, July 9, 2018

From Good to Great at Major Maker Events

This will be a short post. I'm exhausted. It's been a wonderful but hectic week.

1) My Library Part 1 and 2 Additional Qualification course started on July 4, 2018.

2) The MakerEdTO conference took place on July 5, 2018. I presented twice and was a small part of the organization team.

3) Maker Festival Toronto ran at the Toronto Reference Library on July 7-8, 2018. I was the Volunteer Manager / Volunteer Coordinator.

I will do more in-depth reflections later on, but I've thought about the "glows and grows" and I have to say that I believe I have a much more positive opinion about the end results than I did last year. I think there were some great improvements to both events. However, my view may be a bit biased, because I actually put "Maslow before Bloom".

During MakerEdTO, I went out to lunch with my long-time friend Angela McCabe and it was an actual, sit-down, chew-and-swallow meal at Hero Burger. While preparing for Maker Festival Toronto, I actually left the Friday preparations at 9:00 pm to ensure that I got more sleep (10:30 am - 5:45 am, 6.25 hours) than last year (4.5 hours). Although my meals during Maker Festival were irregular, I actually got a chance to walk around and see things at the festival. It wasn't long, and there was a purpose to my wandering (to select a "Best in Show" award for an attending maker), but it was an opportunity to "stop and smell the roses". You can tell that I invested in some self-care because in the photos I have of myself from these events, I'm not sitting behind a desk and most of the time, I'm smiling, and not maniacally!

July 5 - Angela and Diana with "proper selfie techniques"

July 5 - Arianna, Teresa, Diana pause in the action

July 6 - Diana and Trevor in mock collapse

July 7 - Diana congratulates Tinkertorium

July 8 - Diana gets close with a RoRo puppet

I won't go into huge detail right now on all the improvements, but for MakerEdTO, I was so impressed with how smoothly registration went. Changing the process made a huge difference, as did having Derek and Ray at the desk, freeing up David to do other, more pressing tasks. 

For Maker Festival Toronto, we made some significant, risky changes. Some went well and some were bumpy. A lot of credit has to go to Aedan, our Director of Operations, who used their expertise in event programming to take things in new directions. Laurels should also be heaped on my co-coordinator, Nathan, who managed much of the technical aspects of volunteer management. Big thanks also go to our volunteer captains (Teresa, Jessica, Russel, Lucien, and Patrick) for their efforts on the front lines. The one change that I will claim as an actual good idea I myself had was to distribute the volunteer hours sheets to all the high school volunteers after the festival via email as a PDF. This decision meant that there were no long lines of students waiting for me to calculate their hours and sign their sheets as soon as the festival ended. 

To my relief, and unlike last year, there were also no incidents that I regretted the way I handled them. I wasn't brusque or less-than-polite in my interactions (even when there was someone who didn't deserve respect and actually was going to be evicted from the library for their actions). Thanks to Zelia for stepping in and keeping people safe when I had concerns. 

I have to stop writing this blog and start doing paperwork, marking, and preparation for my AQ courses. The busyness doesn't end yet, even though Maker Festival Toronto and MakerEdTO has!

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