How to make a brag deck for your library conference

slide showing a kid on a library sleepover with text describing the library's program

The conference Brag Deck is one of my favorite community engagement secret weapons. It’s a slide deck with pictures of things libraries want to show off. It runs on repeat somewhere during the conference, preferably someplace high-profile like over lunch or during a meeting. People can watch it, see what other libraries are doing, get ideas. I make a little web page that goes along with it so it’s available online all year. If you can make slides, operate email, and download images, you can do this. Here’s an example from last year (sorry no ALT text version available yet)

People make slides in a number of different ways, so I won’t get too into the technical weeds but here are a few tips.

– Don’t start too early. Ask people on your library mailing list (or other communication method) for a few images and text a few weeks out. “What’s something you’re proud of? Show it off here!”
– Remind people a few times in a non-nagging way. The last email can say “There’s still time!” a few days before the conference. You’ll be surprised how many last minute entries you’ll get. I got two on the day before the conference. The goal is to have a lot of participation.
– Email everyone who sends in images saying thank you and congratulating them on their achievement. We spend so much time recognizing others that we don’t always recognize ourselves. Your positive response helps.
– I do 1-2 slides per library, so that both big and small libraries get a chance to shine. If there are a few good images of one event I try to do a multi-image slide. Don’t get too fancy.
– Include the library’s name and location and a small bit of text about what is on each slide, so people can follow up with a library if they want to know more.

That’s it. Finish it up, bring it to the conference, set it somewhere on repeat. Especially by the end of a conference, people can be tired and want to just chill somewhere. Having something professionally applicable but also passive and relaxing is a great addition to any library conference.

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