Friday, July 4, 2014

Your Vegas is showing!

ALA Vegas was my first ALA national conference. Before even getting to the conference, there were plenty of jokes and pokes of fun about the location for a librarian conference from colleagues, friends and family members. As it turns out, it was an interesting place to attend professional development.   The infographic: the 7 reasons nothing leaves Vegas gives a true sense of Vegas.

A lot of my time was spent shadowing Judi Paradis, our current president of MSLA.  As the president elect, this time was invaluable for gaining an understanding of the current menu of items for the upcoming year. Because it was concentrated, it was like attending an accelerated class!  I am grateful to Judi for her wisdom and her ability to speak about the organization for upwards of 8 hours a day!

In between our marathon conversations, we were attending meetings (Affiliate Assemblies, AASL Presidents meeting, ASCLA ebook Consortia), sessions, the vendor hall, and awards ceremonies! It was a full schedule. I Tweeted and posted to Facebook throughout and I found a cool compilation of the conference from SEEN.

Here are some of my takeaways, impressions and notes:

1. Librarians across the country are dealing with many of the same issues that we are dealing with in Massachusetts. It's time to join efforts with as many education/library organizations as possible to maximize our energies.

2. Award ceremonies make me (and everyone around me) cry! Library stories are heartfelt and deep.  It's what draws many of us to the profession - either a story of our own or one that we learn about. I am really glad that I was able to attend a part of the American Indian Youth Literature Award Ceremony.  The group was small and incredibly grateful to have us attend.

3. Gamers experience 10 Positive Emotions while playing video games - regardless of what is happening in their lives. Research shows that you will have more emotional resilience if you feel positive emotions on a daily basis.  Game play is neurologically opposite of depression.  Jane McGonigal was an interesting speaker and I plan to read her book.  If you have a minute, check out her TED talks.  Here are a few games that she suggested:  Fold It, Eyewire, Ora save the forest, Whale Song project.

4. The Best Websites for teaching and learning session was packed - standing room only! I'm looking forward to playing with these as well as the Best Apps for teaching and learning over the summer. Lots of potential and great names that students will get a kick out of.

5. Highlight: The Presidents Program featuring Lois Lowry and Jeff Bridges!!  I ended up in the overflow room and watched the interview on the large screen - but it was still so exciting to know that they were in the same building!    Barbara Stripling asked compelling questions and Lowry and Bridges seemed to have a comfortable rapport.   My favorite quotes from the interview:
"Do you know why hunger persists? Lack of community. The whole world is a community." - 
Jeff Bridges
"All my books are optimistic because kids need to know that they can change the world. They're all we have." - Lois Lowry 

6. Remember to check out all of the hashtags from the conference! A couple of favorites:
   #alaac14, #msla,  and here is a fun one:  #alaleftbehind 

Welcome to Vegas: Emergency Exit Only 

10 Positive Emotions of Gamers:  Jane McGonigal 

Youth Dancers - American Indian Literature Awards 

Gale Booth