Sunday, November 17, 2013

25 Things I Learned at AASL National Conference 2013

This was my first time attending an American Association of School Librarians Conference, a conference dedicated to those of us who call the entire school building our home through our libraries.  I learned lots and lots and lots of important facts but these are 25 of the best.   Some of these I did know, but it is always good to hear them again, internalize them again, celebrate and share them.
  1. School librarians must be leaders.  We must step up.  Speaking up for ourselves can be difficult but we MUST NOT be afraid to toot our own horns, pat our own backs, and show what we bring to students, staff, building, administration, and community.  If we do not step up and speak up for ourselves, no one else will see our value.
  2. Have a plan before you set your first foot in the exhibit hall at a national conference. (Thanks to Meg Finney, my esteemed colleague from Millville, for that smart tip!)
  3. Our libraries are sanctuaries.  Kids come to us for all kinds of reasons, but sanctuary is one we much keep dear to our hearts and minds.
  4. A. S. King wears “Magic Pants” when she writes.  I only hope they are as comfortable and filled with holes as the pants I put on when I cuddle up to read a good book, write my blog, or just lounge in my family room on cloudy, chilly days.
  5. What to do in Maker Spaces?  Think.  Create.  Share.  Grow.  Thank you, Leslie Preddy.
  6. There are levels/steps in Maker Spaces that kids travel and all levels/steps are fine, even though we would like them to move through the steps.  The 4 levels are: using, tinkering, experimenting, and creating.  Thanks again, Leslie!
  7. If you are ever in Hartford, CT, make sure to leave the main downtown area, find a lovely restaurant called The Firebox, and enjoy a superb meal.
  8. If you have a session with Shannon Miller, Tiffany Whitehead and friends get there early so standing in the back of the room is NOT an option for you.
  9. When riding the DASH in Hartford, look around and talk to others.  You never know who you will meet.  Meg and I met author Jackie Mims Hopkins.  She wrote Shelf Elf and Goldie Socks.
  10.   Plan school wide celebrations of literacy, not just library celebrations, and pull in as many members of the public and community as you can.
  11.   I must learn more about badges.
  12.   I love talking to folks from all over the United States and the world.  At AASL in Hartford I spoke to librarians from Minnesota, Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Florida, Georgia, California, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Texas, and of course, New Jersey. 
  13.   Learning deeply is the way to go.  I will never feel badly that I do not do as much as other librarians.  I will always feel proud that I wish to learn deeply and then share with others.
  14.   I will read The Burn Journals written by Brent Runyon, Signing Their Lives Away by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach.
  15.   Librarian Robyn Young and literary nonfiction go together so well and she loves sharing!
  16.   I must carve out time every day for learning a new technology-deeply-so it may take more than one day till I have it down.
  17.   The Daring Librarian, Gwyneth Jones, is just as lively in person as she is on #tlchat and TLChat Google hangouts!  Love the hair!
  18.   Hartford, CT is filled with YUMMY food and makes their guests feel welcome and I want to go back.
  19.   I am doing great things in my high school library-Nancy Everhart’s presentation on The Vision of Outstanding School Library Programs confirmed I may be on my way!
  20.   I can cross a few things off my bucket list now!
  21.   I love to Tweet and love my PLN-some of which I saw and talked to in person.
  22.   I’ve decided to work with Keiko, the Substance Abuse Coordinator at my school, and Meg Finney, the other high school librarian, on a community read or One Book program.  Thanks to A.S King, Anita Cellucci, and Maureen Ambrosino for information and support in the presentation called Reading + Collaboration=Shared Community Experience.
  23.   The AASL app, holding my schedule on my phone, was a Godsend!
  24.   I regret not going to UnConference but, man, I needed some sleep!
  25.   I am so thankful to be part of a group of school librarians, from my district, my state, my country, the world.  We are heroes.  We must be librarian zombie fighters, thanks to Jennifer LaGarde for naming them.  We must build each other up, support each other, and keep in mind our best assets- our students!

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