Saturday, November 7, 2009

The School Librarian's Role in Reading

The AASL Task Force on the School Librarian's Role in Reading walked us through their position statement and the wealth of resources in the wonderful toolkit they have developed.

A colleague from Maui sitting nearby just showed me that she has included my photo on her blog, so here is evidence that I am actively engaged in this conference presentation.

Follow us on Twitter & Flickr

I've not had a moment to contribute to MSLA en Mass. Thanks to Karen Kosko for her post. I know there are many MSLA members here, but we've been scurrying in all directions! Valerie Diggs, Linda Friel, Gerri Fegan, Chris Swerling and I are all presenters this year. Fortunately, there are many attendees posting on Twitter (#aasl2009), Flickr and the AASL conference blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Main libraries of Charlotte

I was very happy to find that my hotel is right across the street from the Main Library at Charlotte and just a few blocks from Imaginon (the complete building dedicated to Charlotte children's public library and the Children's Theatre of Charlotte).

I was immediately impressed by the architecture and attention to detail in both spaces. Quotes about reading and learning surround you. Everything looks new and bright and inviting. The library has careful designed the space with collaborative work in mind. Long gone is the endless and overwhelming maze of stacks - here things are laid out for you, easy to find and enticing. Much like a bookstore.

One of the highlights of the main library is the Virtual Village - with 90 computers available for public use. Reminiscent of an Internet cafe, it was busy on a Wednesday morning. The library even includes a game room and various conferences areas throughout.

Imaginon is amazing - three stories of space dedicated to children. The younger children's library was a bustle of activity. The space is extraordinary - with art both both by children and adults surrounding you, interactive exhibits and a full functioning children's theatre. The young adult wing was laid out with teens in mind - using booth seating and displays. I can't wait to go back.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

We're revving up for Charlotte

MSLA members will be flying south to Charlotte, NC soon for the AASL national conference, Rev Up Learning @ Your Library. You can follow our escapades right here on MSLA en Mass.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Highlight #2: ACRL Science and Technology Section Poster Session (ACRL-STS)

I love Poster Sessions.

The ACRL Science and Technology Section Poster Session, unfortunately, was not as centrally located as most of the sessions that I attended. The trek, though, was a completely worthwhile one.

Themed "Big Science, Little Science, E-Science," the above-linked website describes the Poster Session as follows: This program will explore the science librarian's role in the emerging conversation concerning data and data curation in scientific research with the goal of raising awareness and empowering science librarians to approach faculty members about these issues.

While ostensibly geared to other Science Librarians by providing those models, as a side benefit, there was much to be found in the way of resources for k-12 students and teachers, particularly those at the high school level. I had an especially good conversation with the presenters of "Physics Education Research (PER) Central: Expanding the Scope of Digital Libraries by Promoting Resources Through Assisting a Conference" from the University of Oklahoma who shared a model of supporting Physics and Astronomy Education via serving as the repository for conference materials. comPADRE looks like a great resource to bookmark and send on over to your Physics and Astronomy teachers. (free, but requires registration)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Monday Highlight #1: BIGWIG Social Software Showcase 2009 (LITA Blogs, Interactive Groupware Wikis Interest Group)

I watched much of NECC on ISTE TV and attended the "Web 2.0 meet the Standards for 21st Century Learners" (AASL) with Joyce Valenza, Pam Berger, Wendy Stephens, Christopher Harris, Lisa Perez and Jeff Hastings (all on the same stage!!! with a guest appearance from David Loertscher!!!) -- to me, what was unique about the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase 2009 amusingly, was the diversity of the attendees. Because time is so precious, we tend to focus on niche events to exchange ideas with those in a similar position to ours, who best understand the environments in which we work. Being with public, academic, medical and special librarians, with a few trustees tossed in and an ALA reporter to round out the group while exploring implications and use of emerging social software was a fascinating experience. I am still sifting through the ideas that I generated as a result of hearing other attendees projects, questions, ideas and concerns. Don't be surprised if over the next few months I end up posting to the MSLA Listserv with questions related to implementing some of these...

Go check out all three links above -- NECC, the AASL session and the BIGWIG session. If you are interested in more educational technology PD, just wait until next week. EduBloggerCon - East Coast is on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, followed by November Learning's 2009 Building Learning Communities conference.

Sunday highlight #1: Beyond Pizza: Teen Advisory Groups as Library Leadership (YALSA)

Beyond Pizza: Teen Advisory Groups as Library Leadership
The care and feeding of library advisory boards keeps many a librarian up at night. This program will cover best practices, supply toolkits, and address traditional as well as more flexible models in which teens work as advisors to the library. Librarians from public and school libraries, as well as teens involved in their library program, will offer insight to creating, maintaining, growing or rejuvenating your teen group.

This session featured both the outgoing and incoming heads of the YALSA's Teen Advisory Groups Committee! As I will be the only adult in our library this coming year, I hoped that I would be able to glean many good pointers for effectively enlisting our student volunteers. The session did not disappoint! In addition to learning about the neat (and diverse!) programs of the public libraries, a nice treat was that Courtney Lewis, the outgoing chair who chaired the session is a school librarian.

Two interesting tips:
1. She has a "course catalog" of classes from which faculty can choose a workshop that they would like to have taught to their class. They can simply look at her brochure and say the equivalent of "I'd like to book Into to Databases for second period on Thursday."
2. Since her volunteers are so well versed with library offerings, they are able to serve as informal ambassadors to suggest to faculty specific library resources (print, electronic, workshop, library personnel, etc.) to be integrated with the unit at hand.

Further resources for TAGs can be found on YALSA's TAGS page. This is a collaborative endeavor, so go and add your own!

My ALA '09 Wrap-up

Greetings from another First-Time ALA National Conference attendee!

The conference goes by so quickly... I've been able to sort through my bags and handouts, to start to look at my notes and to begin to integrate all of the conversations and sessions in with my other thoughts about the conference and how I plan to use all that I have learned. That means that I'm now ready to blog!

This is the biggest tech-savvy conference that I have attended. As Kathy mentioned, twitter was a big thing. I wasn't able to keep track as well as I would have liked, but even following tweets and backchannels to the extent that I was able to certainly made for a richer experience within sessions and more streamlined experience overall.

I took a few minutes to read over everyone else's posts to the blog before posting. The wealth of offerings meant that there was a wide variety in the sessions that your MSLA en Mass bloggers attended. It was fantastic to be able to see the conference from some other perspectives and itineraries! This afternoon, I hope to be able to share from some of the sessions that made the greatest impression on me.

I'll leave off for now with the pre-conference advice, "Five Tips For A Better ALA Conference Experience" from SteveB on the ACRL site.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Record Attendance?

The final count of ALA Annual attendees is 28,941. I believe that's a record - and a real surprise in this economy - but a testament to the popularity of Chicago as a conference venue.

I hope this bodes well for the MSLA conference - October 4-5 in Sturbridge!

Conference Presentations and Handouts

ALA has posted materials from the annual conference sessions at

This collection will probably build over the next few days.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Whole New World

I've been home for a couple of days and have begun to process all of the experiences and information from ALA Annual . This conference resulted in some paradigm shifts for me: I finally "got" Twitter and learned that it really is a good mode of communicating valuable information in real time. I tweeted several of the sessions I attended and got positive feedback on my L4L Training4Trainers tweets (#aasll4l) from one of my MSLA colleagues: "Great stuff! Keep it coming!" I was also flattered to find that my tweets made Library Journal's Pick of Top ALA Tweets on Saturday AND Sunday. If you'd like to read other attendees' ALA conference tweets, search on Twitter for #ala2009.

I also learned that you can sometimes catch sessions that you weren't able to attend. LITA (the Library and Information Technology Association, a division of ALA) had two offerings on the Monday schedule that looked interesting, but I missed the first one, Top Technology Trends, because I didn't allow enough travel time. I was thrilled to learn after I got home (via another attendee's tweet), that the presentation was streamed on UStream.

The second LITA session was the President's Program, Make Stories, Tell Stories, Keep Stories. It left me curious to find out more about DOK, a library in Delft, The Netherlands, whose mission is to be the most innovative library in the world. Three DOK employees toured North American libraries in 2007 and produced a popular video about about gaming libraries. I was intrigued by their humor, fresh vision for what libraries can be, and innovative uses of technology.

These programs were so thought-provoking that I'm considering become a member of LITA. Membership is open to anyone interested in leading edge technology and applications for librarians and information providers, and I think joining will help me to see what's coming up around the bend so I can try to foresee what this will mean for school libraries.

There were so many experiences packed into four days at Annual - and I've only written about a few here - that my mind is still spinning with all of the possibilities for our profession. I'd like to thank MSLA for allowing me to attend these national conferences where I can learn from and share my love for school libraries with brilliant colleagues from across the country.

Coretta Scott King Awards and The Inaugural Ball

Seven AM found me bright eyed and bushy tailed (ok - sleepy and yawning) at the breakfast for the 40th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Awards. Kadir Nelson won the author award for his book "We are the ship: The story of Negro League baseball," while the illustrator award went to Floyd Cooper for "The blacker the berry." The various honorees, as well as the gold medalists were profuse in their thanks to the CSK committee for the honors bestowed upon them. It was a wonderful time of solidarity.

I attended Camila Alire's Open House Reception in her suite, then prepared for the Inaugural Ball, held in the fabulous ballroom of the Hilton. I felt like Cinderella, as it was my first Ball, and it was magnificent. A live band played a mixture of 70's disco, modern songs, as well as Latin numbers, while a huge crowd of librarians cut a fabulous rug all night long. I danced non stop for hours, and when I dragged up to my room at 12:05, I definitely felt like I had turned back from Cinderella to my usual self. What a wonderful time! I am so happy for Camila, as she is a good friend and will be a fabulous leader for ALA.

Another conference has passed, filled with a mixed bag of activities. As you can see by reading all these posts, each of us took something different home with us. Maybe you'll be inspired to attend for yourself and then get involved in some aspect. You definitely won't regret it.

See you at Midwinter in Boston 2010!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Viewing ALA from the Meeting Room

AASL is working! As a Director on the Board of AASL and a member of the Affiliate Assembly, I have firsthand evidence that a LOT is going on in the world of school libraries, and AASL is representing us well.

I can still remember the “old days” when I attended ALA and it was like being loose in a candyland of amazing professional development. Now that I have taken on a leadership role, the ALA conference means meetings, meetings and more meetings. I’m not whining, just explaining why I missed Tracy Kidder’s presentation, couldn’t attend Lisa Scottoline or Michael Connolly’s presentations……..I know, I’m whining. But – it’s worth it!

“How can AASL insure visibility for the School Librarian in the current movement toward 21st century skills?” At the first meeting of the Board, we went through a very involved process to come up with a seemingly simply-worded statement:

MOTION: AASL will move forward in raising SLMS visibility and viability by influencing the development of the Common Core State Standards and ensuring specific recognition of the instructional role of the School Librarian within the language of ESEA.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative aims to bring about “real and meaningful transformation of our education system to benefit all students.” Read more about this important movement: This initiative recognizes the need for students from every state to be prepared for success as globalization continues to stress competition with students from other high-achieving countries. Additional information is at the Common Core State Standards Initiatives:

An additional group that is envisioning the future of education is “Project Tomorrow”, from the KnowledgeWorks Foundation: and

In the Board discussion, important points were made:

• AASL President Ann Martin challenged the director-elects to bring the initiatives to their regions and to work with the affiliates to do the work on the state level. The work of the Common Core State Standards needs to be brought to their individual states’ education board because this is a very fast-moving movement. We are promoting inquiry based learning, using a variety of resources – not necessarily saying at the outset that we need libraries.

• It’s based on teaching and learning; the use of the library is the natural course of action. Content-based learning must be replaced by process teaching & Learning. We are NOT demanding that libraries be funded. Rather, we predict that the administrators will realize the critical role that school libraries play in 21st century learning and fund the programs. This was the approach used by the Spokane Moms in their lobbying for school libraries.

• Julie Walker, Executive Director of AASL reminded the board that the decision makers are in our states. Directors must make contact with each state in their region and report back to the AASL Board.

• We are not ADDing to the curriculum, but showing that school libraries are promoting career and college readiness.

• Political advocacy is survival, not optional

• Some fast-moving initiatives must be watched:
National assessment of technology skills - ICT, NAEP
National Technology Plan – wiki is up and looking for feedback. Short turn-around (July 12th)
Fund Our ex: Washington and Oregon

• Forthcoming/newly-announced from AASL:
AASL statement on the position of the SLMS in Reading
25 best educational websites. MSLA member, Linda Friel was a member of the task force
Celebration of the L4L Launch
Parents’ Outreach Task Force
Research Award is returning – Raintree will be the new sponsor

Monday, Monday...

I was very excited to get to the convention center bright and early to hear Melba Pattillo Beals, author of "Warriors don't cry: A searing memoir of the battle to integrate Little Rock Central High School," and the sequel "White is a state of mind: Freedom is yours to choose."

Before Melba spoke, we were entertained by the award winning St. Ailbe's Children's Choir who wowed us with fabulous gospel music and accompanying dances. Melba, recovering from recent titanium hip surgery, recounted the events leading up to her becoming one of the "Little Rock Nine." Throughout, she reiterated that she didn't feel hate for those who abused, mocked and made her 15 year old life miserable during that year at Little Rock, and that her mother's work as a librarian enabled her life to regain a semblance of sanity by spending time in the soothing rhythms of the library and creasing new library books. She noted that she maintains her on-campus office in the back of the university's library to be near the new books, and volunteers to crease them every now and then to remember her mother and relax.

When the Arkansas governor closed the school the following year so they wouldn't be able to attend, and the KKK put a $10,000/$5000 dead or alive bounty on their heads, (huge riches in those days), all 9 students were forced to flee for their lives. She had to leave her natural family behind, and spent the rest of her days with a white Quaker family in California who treated her as one of their own. This experience led to her writing the "White is a state of mind" sequel to "Warriors don't cry."

Melba ended by noting how this experience changed her life, and that we librarians are on a journey of our own to show others the value of libraries and how librarianship can make a difference in their lives. After this fascinating talk, visited the exhibit hall, toured the historic Prairie Ave. area, then went for a run in Grant Park and through the Museum area.

In the evening, I attended YALSA's Printz award celebration, and enjoyed listening to the various acceptance speeches.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference. My, how time flies!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday Adventures

This morning, I went to YALSA's Coffee Klatch, which is like speed dating except you get authors to visit your table every 5 minutes. I met some well known authors like Richard Peck and Garret Freymann-Weyr, then had some newbies come to the table. Afterwards, all 35+ authors gathered for a photo op, at which time I met Jacqueline Woodson, David Levithan, Simone Elkeles, Yasmin Shiraz and others. My students will be so thrilled, because I have a group of girls who absolutely LOVE Jacqueline Woodson's books. This is always a great YALSA event, and I look forward to it every year.

I spent some time with Yasmin afterwards as we struck up a conversation as we waited for the buses, and wound up keeping each other company in the expo until I left to attend the Pura Belpre Celebration. I am on the Celebration Committee and was assigned to be a greeter, and was absolutely thrilled to finally meet Francisco Jiminez, who was an honor winner this year for his book "Breaking Through." Each of the honorees and winners gave great speeches, followed by a wonderful time of entertainment by the Ballet Folklorico Company. A group of young girls dressed in authentic folk costumes from Mexico beautifully danced for us.

Next stop was the convention center, where I laughed and cheered at the annual Demco Book Cart Drill Team Championships. Mo Willems and Jon Scieszka were co-hosts and their combined humor had us in stitches the entire time. My favorite team made up of costumed Vikings danced their way to the Golden Cart win, and I got to meet these two funny guys.

I had a short time to get ready for the annual REFORMA fundraiser, and danced the night away with Camila Alire and others. From there, a group of us packed ourselves into a taxi singing and laughing as we made our way back to the hotel. It reminded me of that commercial where people sing and the taxi driver puts up the radio and joins in - except this one just thought we were nuts!

We went up to the penthouse suite where ALA president Jim Rettig was having a reception, and enjoyed some time with International Librarians. The view from the balcony was spectacular, and the view of the moon reflecting off the lake was superb.

Tomorrow will be sure to have more adventures. So, until then my bed is calling....


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Of Audiobooks and Websites

One of the reasons (beyond getting lots of ARC's for my voracious readers back at Wilson) I came to ALA was to keep up to date on the latest and greatest in technology for the SLMS and get more info on audiobooks. Today was a big for me in both those areas.
My first session was lead by Pam Berger and an amazing committee who created a list of the top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning. As this is the first year for this award, they also included a list of Landmark Websites . Both lists can be found at All of the websites are free and mesh with the AASL standards. Check them out! There is a downloadable PDF version to share with your teachers.
My next session was with members of the Oddessey committe, who choose the best in Audiobooks for ALA's Oddessey Award. This is the second year for this award. The presentation entitled "Evaluating Audiobooks" reaffirmed my belief in audiobooks for all learners. A great resource to learn more about this genre would be Mary Burkey's monthly column:
I also found a vendor, Tantor Audiobooks that has a series of MP3-CD Audiobooks that includes the ebook as well.

As a middle school Librarian (grades 5-8) I have been concentrating my efforts on the exhibit floor scouting out titles that will interest my boys in particular, and also new books from popular authors. Here are some that I think will be hits with my kids:
A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck 9/09
The Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda 9/09
Piper Reed Gets a Job by Kimberly Willis Holt 8/09
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 9/09
Pop by Gordon Korman
Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko 9/09
Also Known as Harper by Ann Haywood Leal
The Witches Guide to Cooking with Children Keith McGowan 9/09
There are many more, lots of good reading to look forward to!

So much to little time!

Lynn is right about the full schedule! This is the first chance I've had to gather my thoughts in a couple of days - and only because I didn't allow enough travel time from one venue to the next and missed a session I had planned to attend. That's my only complaint with Chicago as an ALA conference venue - the sessions aren't all based at the McCormick Conference Center. Many events take place at hotels that are a good half an hour bus ride away.

With this unexpected time on my hands, I'll try and recap how I spent my day yesterday, which was a pretty typical conference day...

There was no time for breakfast before boarding the first convention center shuttle of the day to hear Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked, speak. It was especially important for me to be early for this session in order to get a front row seat to take photos. Gregory has dedicated his latest book, Matchless, to our MSLA president Gerri Fegan, and he had told her he would be introducing her during his talk. The book dedication was first prize in a contest for people who pre-ordered Massachusetts library license plates. The dedication reads, "To Geraldine Fegan and all school and public librarians who keep the library lamps burning during difficult times." After Gregory's humorous and energetic talk, we stood in line at the Harper Collins booth to have him sign the free copies of the Matchless gallies provided by the publisher.

A celebration of the publication of the new AASL guidelines for school library programs, Empowering Learners, followed with cake that served as breakfast. Following the celebration, the AASL president's program offered three authors - Laurie Halse Anderson, Jacqueline Woodson, and Alan Lawrence Sitomer - who spoke movingly about how school librarians impact students' lives.

I spent some time in the exhibit hall, watching demos of new products and just roaming around watching all of the activity. A couple of vendors had refreshments - champagne at one booth, wine and cheese at another - so that was lunch.

The final session I attended was a panel discussion hosted by ALA President Jim Rettig called Coalition Building for All Libraries in a Tough Economy. Gerri Fegan impressively presented about MSLA and MLA's joint legislative and advocacy efforts.

The Scholarship Bash was the major event of the day, held at the fabulous Art Institute of Chicago and kicked off with a VIP reception sponsored by ProQuest. There was plentiful food, drink and entertainment in various locations throughout the museum. Before we called it a night I enjoyed viewing Winslow Homer's famous American Gothic along with many Monet, Gaugin, Van Gogh and other Impressionists' works, including George Seurat's fascinating A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

I've finally come to appreciate Twitter at this conference and find it preferable to blogging in this type of situation. You can follow me on Twitter (@mslalowe) and on FaceBook if you "friend" me. I, long with some of my colleagues, have taken lots of photos that we have posted here on Flickr.

My ALA conference visit so far.......

I've just been too busy to post! I arrived mid week and spent a few days sightseeing with a friend who grew up in Chicago. What fun we had - we saw so much - too much to go into now. But let me say - I LOVE the city.

The conference is going well for me . Yesterday I went to Closing the Gap: Making Information Literacy Seamless across K-16 and to the AASL Presidents Program with the three award wining young adult and children authors - that was awesome. All three authors were so wonderful! Very uplifting. Then in the afternoon I went to the Downloadable Technology workshop and got caught up with the new book and music downloadable technologies.

Today I just went to the AASL top 25 websites - very good. I did send a tweet from there. I must confess I am a great Twitter follower and not a very good contributor. But hopefully I will get better.

I feel better that I have blogged to let you all know I am here - and hopefully I will bump into one of you. Enjoy the rest of the conference - and the weather - it finally looks like the good weather might hang around! Onto the Exhibit hall..........


The Read/Write Web

My first Program on Saturday was taught by Susannah Tamarkin a High School NBCS School Library Media Specialist in the New York schoool system. We spent the morning learning how to integrate the the AASL standards into a Read/Write Web Classroom. The tools we used are free and available without need of district appproval for download etc. They include Wikispaces, Google docs and Clipmarks. Sussanah uses Wikispaces a repository for each class, and embeds google documents within the wiki. Each student sets up his/her own wiki and both Sussanah and the content area teacher have access to the students work.

For more information please feel free to look at her wiki at:

the entire presentation that I attendend should be there. There was some great information to take back to our inform our teaching.

Next I attended The AASL President's Program featuring speakers Laurie Halse Anderson, Alan Sitomer, And Jacqueline Woodson. Each spoke about the value of school/public libraians on their lives, The power of books and the impact that they have found that books have had on their readers' lives. It was a very powerful presentation and what we should all take away is that though we in the trenches may not realize it, our students are feeling the impact of our influence every day.

Finally, My afternoon was spent on the vendor floor, checking out new books, new products, and meeting authors. The evening was spent at the Scholarshiip bash, enjoying beautiful art, and then back to the hotel for not enough sleep!!!!!

Saturday Sizzle

Yes, it was a real sizzler of a day! Bright and early at 8 am I reported to the Convention Center for YALSA's Leadership Development session for Committee Chairs. From 8-10, I mingled with other chairs and board members as we negotiated ways to lead and manage our committees. From 10-12, I chaired my Diversity Campaign Task Force as we brainstormed and forged ahead with our agenda and ideas for what needs to be accomplished between now and midwinter.

At 12, I raced to the nearby Hyatt Regency for the Margaret Edwards Luncheon honoring Laurie Halse Anderson. She gave a very moving acceptance speech filled with tears and laughter. Afterwards, we chatted and posed for a photo then I raced to the Convention Center where I began my "author hunts."

I had prepared a list of authors that would be signing and began methodically hunting for each, beginning with Neil Gaiman. I wound up photographing more than I expected, including Chris Myers, Kadir Nelson, Nic Bishop, Diana Lopez, Kate DiCamillo, Lauren Myracle, M.T. Anderson, Jimmy Gownley and Rachel Renee Russell. For those with ridiculously long lines, I skipped the free book and just took a photo for my library. For shorter lines, I hung out and talked to the authors. They were very personable, and happy to talk/take photos.

All this chasing down took from 1-3:30, when I joined up with Laurie Halse Anderson at the Simon & Shuster booth as a huge group of us toasted her with champagne as she was awarded the Scott O'Dell award for "Chains."

At 4:30, I raced for the shuttle to my hotel to freshen up for the opening session which began at 5:30, where pres. Jim Rettig announced a new presidential initiative to raise $1 million for the Spectrum Scholarship Program. As a 2006 Spectrum Scholar, this was very exciting news.

At 7, I speed walked to the shuttles which took me to the ProQuest Spectrum Scholarship Bash at the Art Institute. I joined ProQuest CEO and other Scholars onstage at the outdoor eating area for the introduction to the night and a photo op, then we adjourned to enjoy delicious sandwiches, fruit and dessert which were displayed in 3 large eating areas. We were given free reign of the museum, and I covered practically miles of walking as I traversed every floor. By 9:30 I was dragging and ready to call it a day.

Tomorrow will be another early day, so it's off to the races until then...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Newbie at a Conference

Wow! It seems that's all I keep saying to myself - Wow!

Everyone told me that it's hard to describe being at National - and they are right. The amount of information that is given is almost overwhelming - even for a librarian!!!! Chicago is a great city, but for a first conference it's a little difficult to keep track of everything. Why? You need to develop a three dimensional schedule. Most conventions are held in a relatively small area unto itself. ALA Chicago is help over several square MILES. You need to be cognizant of not only time but place as well. Several attractive workshops had to be abandoned because of the realization that as of yet, we haven't perfected instantaneous transport! Other than that - It is amazing to realize that you aren't alone.

Librarians, especially school librarians, are sometimes isolated in our schools. We may be the only school librarian in our school or even in our district. Here, I have had conversations with academic librarians, specialists (the FBI Academy Librarian is sitting next to me at the computers - I didn't even KNOW they had a library!!!) vendors, etc. It's uplifting to know that there are so many professionals that share our values, and how friendly everyone is!

Talk about serendipity... Coming in from O'Hare on a 10 passenger bus - guess who was sitting right next to me? Sandy Kelly. Yep - we both travel a 1000 miles just to end up sitting next to each other making plans to meet up in all of this convention hoopla. The connections we make at convention may take us all over the world - or just to the next back yard!

And sorry Chicago - apparently we brought the rain in from MA. Rain Friday afternoon - Huge thunderstorm @ 3 - and they are predicting more rain today. Oh well. Just as long as it doesn't follow us back!

- Kelly Depin


Chicago News

Well, here I am in the Windy City, which didn't feel very windy. In fact, after what we've been enduring weatherwise in MA, it felt downright balmy - even with the early morning rains!

My flight didn't get into town with enough time to do any real sightseeing, so I walked around the general vicinity of the historic Hilton where I'm staying, and looked at the archival photographs on display which documented its storied history since 1927, including the 1968 Vietnam protests during the Democratic National Convention. Every president since Roosevelt has visited, including many foreign heads of state and it's quite lovely. It's also the site of many movies, including the banquet scene from Harrison Ford's "The Fugitive," among others, as well as having its heli-port used during the filming of "ER."

Afterwards, I went to the Convention Center to get the "lay of the land" for tomorrow's early meetings, then taxied to Second City. LLAMA had sponsored a night of improv there, and the comedy acts were quite entertaining.

It's now very late, and I have to get up very early. Not a great combo, but that's what happens at these conferences!

More tomorrow.......

Friday, July 10, 2009

My one free day in Chicago!

First, I have to say, I have been following Kathy Lowes Twitter Posts, and it is getting me pumped to rework our districts' standards this fall. Thank you Valerie and Kathy for all you have been doing.
My flight to Chicago was smooth, and I was at my hotel easy peasy! I went right down to the convention center and got all of my convention materials and the first person I bumped into was Linda Braun, my Technology teacher from Simmons! Had a bite to eat with a librarian from Oklahoma, who has written and implemented a grant(through IMLS) to hold a library camp for middle schoolers interested in becoming librariaians. She has set it up so that the kids travel for a week to various types of libraries i.e. academic, public, special, research, and see the inner workings of the libraries they visit. In the end they each get a bag full of books donated by the libraries they visited. They stay in hotels as they travel, and take a bus from place to place. She has had 30 campers each year. This is her third year. The kids love it She figures even if they do not become librarians, she is building advocacy for libraries. This is what I love about coming to ALA -learning from other librarians.

Since this will be my only free time in Chicago, I city I have never been to, I took a double decker tour, a very down and dirty way to get an over view and bearings in a new city.
Having left the cold damp weather of Boston, it was nice to have a bit of sun in the late afternoon, and enjoy a very interesting tour. I'm going to enjoy a little downtime now and then off to listen to a talk with Russell Freedman, Candice Fleming, and others on Celebrating Lincoln and the challenges of creating aptivating biographies for children and young adults.
tomorrow will be afull day.

Chicago Vibes

Greetings from the windy city. The sharing and excitement has begun here with an all-day training session for Learning4Life implementation chair people from each state. Kathy Lowe and I are the co-chairs for Massachusetts, and spent the day engaged in thinking and planning on how to make the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner the guiding force for school libraries in Massachusetts. The new brand name for the standards is Learning4Life. The L4L name will be heard more and more often.

Look for implementation plans coming soon from Kathy and I for our state. On to AASL Affiliate Assembly today - and more reporting later.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

L4L Training4Trainers

Valerie Diggs is MSLA's AASL Standards implementation chair, with Kathy Lowe as her partner. We are at the Learning for Life Training for Trainers Summit where we will begin to develop MSLA's plan for implementing the new standards within our districts with library staff, teachers, administrators, parents, and our school communities, as well as across the state.

You can follow our summit experience on Twitter @mslalowe (#aaslL4L)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Another Year, Another Conference

MSLA members will be attending the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago July 9-15. Join us here as we document our experiences.