President-elect Sarah Justice and I spent six days in New Orleans at the American Library Association annual conference at the end of June. We attended meetings as your NC representatives to the American Association of School Librarians Affiliate Assembly and spent some time stalking authors and speakers on the exhibit floor and in concurrent sessions.
Here are some lessons I learned from our trip to The Big Easy:
- Network with as many folks as you can. At our meetings, we had the opportunity to talk with school librarians from our region (KY, SC, WV, VA, TN, NC) as well as across the country. But it was also the conversations standing in author signing lines and on the airplanes and throughout the conference that reconnected us with passionate readers, tech savvy individuals, and information gurus.
- Pack lightly and mail your books home or stick them in your suitcase. Yes, I borrowed my five year old daughter's suitcase for the trip -- rolled clothes and I had plenty to wear for our six days. But I did mail two boxes of books (freebies and a couple that I purchased) back home to avoid hefting 40-50lbs of books on the plane.
- Wear comfortable shoes to a national conference. While Deb Christensen clocked over 16,000 steps on her pedometer one day during the conference, I'm sure that between the two of us Sarah and I walked 40 miles during our trip. Comfy sandals and supportive tennis shoes were our friends.
- AASL has some great resources, if you'll just take advantage of them. At our Affiliate Assembly meeting, we were reminded of the toolkits and planning guides at the AASL website that can help us be better teachers, assessors, planners, and advocates in our library media programs.
- Leadership is key to making things happen in our profession. While we heard some incredible speakers and authors, we also heard from key leaders in our profession, folks who are at the building levels just like us and making a difference everyday in the lives of students, teachers, and fellow school librarians.
Posted by Ms. Dee at 5:31 PM
Kelly Brannock and I are braving the D.C. heat to represent you as your North Carolina delegates to the American Association of School Librarians Affiliate Assembly.
On Friday night, we met with other delegates across the country to discuss concerns brought to the AASL from the various regions. Region 4, which we belong to, was well represented and our two concerns were discussed by the assembled delegates.
We both spent time in the exhibits on Saturday, talking with some of our favorite vendors and meeting up with fellow North Carolinians on the floor.
On Sunday, we will meet again at AASL Affiliate Assembly and share our discussions with you via the blog and listserv!
If you're in D.C., we hope you're enjoying the conference and the D.C. sights! If you couldn't make it, we hope your friends are bringing you back lots of autographed books and free posters!
Posted by Ms. Dee at 5:47 PM
Thanks to my trusty side-kick, NCSLMA President-Elect Deanna Harris, who faithfully blogged about our experiences pal-ing around together at ALA Midwinter in Boston last weekend. Yes, we really did see and hear Al Gore -- I even got up close for an autograph of his newest book, Our Choices. As you may have seen on this blog (and on Facebook), we had our picture taken with another celebrity, "Flat Sara", a life-size cutout of ALA Presidential candidate, Sara Kelly Johns
. (Sara is a former AASL President & she's looking for support from AASL members when we vote for ALA President in the spring.) Out of obligation to our host city, Deanna and I slurped down some tasty clam "chowdah" and did extensive field-testing of their famous Boston Creme Pie. We can confirm that they know how to make a scrumptious dessert in Boston!
Of course, there were more substantive things that happened in Boston. One of the more intriguing moments was when AASL President-Elect Nancy Everhart described her plan to visit an outstanding school library in all 50 states! Nancy's excellent adventure (she'll be rollin' cross-country in an RV) might be the ticket to your fame, since Nancy is looking for an exemplary school library in NC to visit. I will provide her with our state's recommendation for this honor in April, so put on your thinking caps and consider nominating yourself or someone else. An "offical" NCSLMA nomination form will be posted on the website soon, but in the meantime here are the specifics that Nancy is looking for in her 50-state school library tour:
- The school librarian is fully certified and a member of AASL
- The facility and activities going on in the facility are engaging and visually stimulating.
- The school library makes the most of the resources available.
- Schools should be diverse and at various levels – elementary, middle, high, K-12, etc.
- The school administration agrees to a site visit with media coverage which may include television, radio, and/or web coverage
- Appropriate permissions are obtained which include photos, video and potential research
- The school visit will occur on a day that fits Nancy's schedule
- Evidence of learning will be provided
- Tour schedule will be finalized in May and June and announced at ALA Annual in Washington, DC in June 2010.
Besides fame as a stop on Nancy's 50-state tour, there's fortune to be had as an AASL member. Several AASL awards are still up for grabs and we would LOVE to see an NCSLMA member bring home the money. The application deadline is February 1, 2010, so time is of the essence! For more information, including an application, go to http://www.ala.org/aasl/awards
. Award winners will be honored at ALA Annual in Washington DC in June 2010. Given the current budget environment, there's no better time to showcase your library program, demonstrate your very best practices, and support the work you love by bringing home an AASL Award!
The other interesting news out of Boston is that AASL has officially adopted the professional title of "School Librarian" to describe the work we do. According to ALA's Cognotes, "a recent AASL survey indicated confusion, misperceptions, and inconsistencies about job titles in the school librarian profession." Affiliate Assembly requested that the AASL Board of Directors "choose a title for its professionals that is clear to other educators, administrators, and the public, and that presents a common nomenclature for all publications and advocacy efforts."
So, School Librarian may be an old name, but it's our new professional title for the 21st century. While most people are very familiar with this old new name, they are likely not as conversant with what it means to be a 21st century School Librarian. If we are at our very best, we're making this clear every day through the work we do in school libraries across North Carolina. (I don't know about you, but I wear this professional title proudly and make it part of my signature line.)
Happily back in NC (but still lovin' Boston),
your NCSLMA President and School Librarian
connecting . learning . firstname.lastname@example.org
kellybrannock at Twitter
Kelly Brannock on Facebook
Posted by Kelly Brannock at 5:40 PM
Here's Al Gore on the big screen. We really did see him on stage. We promise! It was just easier to take a picture of the bigger than life Al Gore than the tiny Gore on stage.
Here we are posing with "Flat Sara", the life-size cardboard display of ALA Presidential candidate, Sara Kelly Johns, former AASL President.
Kelly, Sandra Andrews - UNC-G and AASL Affiliate Assembly chair, and Deb Christensen - NCSLMA Past-President
Kelly and Deanna posing at the Backstage Library Works booth in the exhibit hall.
Kelly and Deanna "getting to know" Oscar the Robot, the Emery-Platt book distributors mascot.
Posted by Ms. Dee at 6:58 AM
Saturday was a great day for networking with librarians from all locations and backgrounds, but especially our fellow school librarians.
We started our day with AASL Affiliate Assembly roundtable discussions. The topic of this year's discussions was on setting and size of school libraries and the unique problems that arise with each. Kelly and I, along with Deb Christensen, joined the 'suburban' table since we both teach in schools that seem to fit that definition best. Other discussion tables included rural, urban, small, and large.
The folks at our table included librarians from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Delaware, and the discussion focused on issues that uniquely affect suburban schools. The main issue we reported out to the larger group is that in suburban schools we are starting to serve a wider range of students, students from the very poor to the more affluent. How do we make sure that we have the instructional strategies, the teaching tools, and the resources to meet the needs of that wide range of students?
And speaking of name dropping, we had the opportunity to hear Al Gore as he delivered the Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture. Gore discussed his latest book, Our Choices
, about the climate crisis. This book is accessible to younger readers. Kelly got up close and personal with Gore when she had her book autographed.
Lots of librarians, including Kelly, are tweeting during the conference. So if you'd like more updates and information, you can search the tag #alamw10 for their comments and postings.
Posted by Ms. Dee at 3:53 AM
Kelly and I arrived in Boston Friday afternoon. (We hope our friends in NC enjoyed the warmer temperatures on Friday because it's cold here!)
Our afternoon was spent organizing ourselves for the weekend -- registering, finding our way around, locating the rooms for our meetings. We attended the Exhibitor's Reception and roamed around looking for some familiar faces, and it's a veritable "Who's Who" from NC in Boston.
NCSLMA Past-President Deb Christiansen and Piedmont Director Catherine Barone are just two doors down from us. Deb currently serves as past recording secretary for AASL Affliate Assembly, and Catherine is on the YALSA Teen Read Week committee.
We ran into a couple of folks from the hometown universities -- Sandra Andrews, Chairperson of Affiliate Assembly, and Linda Gann from UNC-G
and Linda Teel from East Carolina University
. (We'd also already seen Sandra Hughes-Hassell
from UNC-Ch on our flight to Boston.) These ladies were enjoying the clam chowder at the reception and making their way around to find those deals at the exhibitors.
At dinner at Legal Test Kitchen
(very yummy!), we conversed with Kevin Cherry, NC native and former State Library of NC staffer, who now works with ILMS
We're off to brave the cold this morning as we head back to the convention center for our roundtable discussion! Watch for pictures and more postings!Deanna Harris, NBCTNCSLMA President-Elect
Posted by Ms. Dee at 4:34 AM
Kelly Brannock and I are headed to Boston this weekend to represent the association at AASL
Affiliate Assembly at ALA Midwinter
. The purpose of Affiliate Assembly is"...to provide a channel of communication for reporting concerns of the affiliated organizations and their membership to the AASL Board of Driects; to facilitate discussion of activities and concerns of AASL as reported by the AASL president, Executive Direction and Board of Directors; and to report the actions of the AASL to the Affiliates. (AASL Bylaws, Article XI, Section 2.)"
As your representatives, we look forward to discussing the status of school libraries and media coordinators in our state with other delegates. As a member of Region 4, we will meet with delegates from Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Keep checking the blog this weekend for updates about what's happening with our national association and the issues that affect school libraries!Deanna Harris, NBCTNCSLMA President-Elect
Posted by Ms. Dee at 1:52 PM