by Stacey Embry,
Director,
Morgan County Library
So, I went to a nerd convention last week. Really? Yep! If you are a fan of the movie Stepbrothers, imagine anytime I say “yep” as John C. Reilly would say it.
The word “nerd” has two definitions: 1. A foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious. 2. A single-minded expert in a particular technical field.
The nerds I hung around with last week would fall under the second definition. I attended the MPLD (Missouri Public Library Directors) conference. These guys know all things public library and are passionate about libraries in general.
I attended a meeting for Missouri Libraries 2 Go (OverDrive) and we discussed ebooks/audios and issues with OverDrive; focused on concerns with holds list and wait times. Were things solved? No. But I understand what the issues are and they are heading toward better service. As for myself, I still love OverDrive; I can wait my turn for a free book.
Other things discussed were super nerdy and would not be interesting to everyone. For example, a human resources officer from Daniel Boone Regional discussed everything from ADA compliance to dress code for staff. The last day ended with the most exciting part of the conference: robots. Yep! Robots!
Robotic programs are hot, happening, trending, whatever word you need to understand that they are the thing to be doing. Stover High School now has a competitive robotics program right here in Morgan County. Camdenton High School also has a robotics program and the kids involved love it and are getting recognition at the national level. This discussion could not come at a better time, as the library is preparing to have our second robotics event at the library.
In April, the University of Missouri Extension office conducted two robotics workshops with the local 4-H group. I was impressed. They made robots with LEGOs. The one I noticed was a duck. They programmed it to do things such as move, quack; like a robot, a duck robot. Some people might ask, “Why?” Seriously, why wouldn’t you? Technology has a stronghold on our society. We have discussed the perils of technology before, but it is our present and will be our future.
At the conference, we were invited to play with different robots. At first, only a handful would go up; but, by the end of the presentation, we were all out of our seats digging through the boxes as others sent little Spheros (a super cool ball robot) zigzagging around our feet.
Like the children of our community, robots might seem intimidating at first, but they are a blast, an educational blast. If you want someone to learn something, make it fun. If you want to empower someone, challenge them. Robotics programs are fun and challenging and are an exceptional way to empower our children to be involved in the future.
The extension office will return to the library to conduct a robotics program for children grades 4-8, 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 5 through Wednesday, July 26. We will be limited to 20 kids. Sign up starts Wednesday, June 14 and the children must attend all four programs. We are working on activities for younger kids but have not finalized anything at this time.
We will be hosting a farmers’ market 10 a.m to noon Saturday, June 24. We are blessed to have another group of “experts/nerds” who will conduct seminars during the market. I LOVE our farmers’ market “nerds.” Some of them share the fruits of the labor with us. The Eckhoffs grow some awesome carrots. My mom makes some cool bags out of feed bags; excellent for grocery getting. We need vendors and we want attendees. Please stop by or email me if you have any questions. We have applications at the counter and I will be sharing them on our Facebook page.
The word “nerd” used to be considered an insult. I say “boo” to that. Nerds are passionate about their particular field. If being passionate about being a librarian makes me a nerd, then I will proudly wear the title. We hope to inspire a bunch of new little robot “nerds” and cannot wait to share the skills, wisdom, and wares of our market “nerds.” I love robots and I love organic carrots! “Did we just become best friends?” Yep!
For more information, visit the Morgan County Library, 600 N. Hunter, in Versailles; call 573-378-5319; or see the library’s website at morgancountylibrary.org. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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