Sunday, November 29, 2015

Follett update

Follett sponsored a  lunch for school librarians at the AASL conference and provided an interesting update on their world.  Since the majority of school libraries (including mine) use Follett, it seems worth sharing what they're up to, including:

  • Follett has caught on that we're all genrefying our collections and is in the process of creating a support system to provide help with cataloging, icons for book spines and signage, signage, etc.  They are currently conducting a national survey of school librarians (you may have received their link) and look for more to come soon.  
  • Follett also has a $200K Challenge that very few school librarians apply for.  They are seeking librarians to share stories of how their school library impacts their school positively, and there is serious money up for grabs.  Read about this here.
  • They also shared a new product called Light Box, which is a sort of extreme e-book with embedded links, videos, etc.  It was fairly impressive and a good value at $40 for a school subscription for multiple users:
  • They are redesigning the interface for their Destiny circulation software.  They plan to integrate with Overdrive, Mackin and to provide lessons related to content.  They plan to launch this over the summer of 2016.
  • They discussed parent access to their children's library records--causing some unhappy murmurs at my table--this is something to watch forl
  • They also are now collecting data from Destiny checkouts across the US each month and publishing a list of the top 10 (and top 50) books checked out by students each month.  I checked it out and cannot say it differed wildly from the top 10 books checked out in my school.

Guided inquiry and collaboration—four takes in one day

My great serendipity on Saturday was selecting three sessions that linked in interesting ways to get me thinking hard about how to collaborate better with teachers and introduce more elements of guided inquiry into my practice. 
I started the day with David Loertscher, who shaped my initial ideas about the possibilities of a school library and continues to do so.  His most recent research, conducted with a professor at the Uof Toronto, demonstrates an astonishing increase in student learning when teachers and librarians collaborate and co-teach.  Carol Gordon presented in the afternoon, and confirmed Loertscher’s by showing some exciting work going on when a librarian working in collaboration with a teacher in New Jersey got exponentially better results than she’d had the year before when she taught research projects alone in a weekly fixed schedule.
Loertscher and Gordon both explained that after FIFTY years, it was clear that fixed schedule elementary programs were unlikely to go away.  So they are now looking at a “fixed and” model as Loertscher put it.  They both had an interesting take on how to solve the problem.
Loertscher recommended employing robust MakerSpaces during fixed sessions with classes.  He showed examples of both traditional MakerSpaces stocked with legos, MakeyMakey, little bits, etc. and (I LOVED THIS) virtual MakerSpaces with links to tools such as Google Draw that allowed kids to create in an open-ended environment.  Once this is set up and kids are taught to come in and engage and work independently with these models, a second class could be using the library for research AND THE LIBRARIAN HAS FREED UP TIME TO CO-TEACH!  Interesting idea with some caveats around management—but definitely worth thinking about.  Notes are here.
Gordon’s approach (which she’s just done beautifully with a teacher and librarian and has a great project to show) involves taking a teacher-library team and having them work in an asynchronous fashion on a joint project using a tool such as Edmoto (and Google docs/folders would work) to share materials and information about progress on projects.  Gordon’s idea is that the librarian basically works to coach the teacher on the research process and helps with materials selection.  The teacher then works to roll out research between library visits, and when students go for weekly “library time” they do more research with the librarian.  The teacher also helps the librarian gain knowledge of content and content-directed questions.  Using Edmoto and a clear and flexible calendar, her team seamlessly collaborated and discussed student work, looked to roll out new learning with responsibility assigned to teacher or librarian (depending on who was where when) and the result was a beautiful project on the Civil War done with a true guided imagery approach.  My notes are here.
To round things out, Laura D’Elia, Jenny Lussier, and Melissa Stewart all provided insight into aspects of adding more guided inquiry elements into teaching, including:
·        Preparing very young students for research with I wonder moments, ability to do exploration with realia and books, and open-ended discussions—Jenny does this very well
·        Looking carefully at wordless books and books with minimal text to get students to notice details and examine visual images carefully (Melissa Stewart has great practical suggestions—my notes are here)

·        Setting up a standardized guided inquiry online toolbox for students with the research steps carefully identified and explained and links to places where students can save work for each step of the process.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Primary Sources in Primary Grades

When we think of using primary sources,  I would guess that most of us assume that's in the realm of middle school and high school research. However, Tom Bober, a teacher in residence at the Library of Congress, set out to challenge that assumption.

We began by talking about primary sources - what are they, defining different types of sources as primary or secondary. Next, he shared some great resources that people (especially at the elementary level), might not be aware of, mainly from the LOC.

Among the resources offered are:
Primary Source sets, which include detailed teacher guides to go with each set
A wonderful primary source analysis tool that guides students through the process
Idea Books/Resources for teachers 
Chronicling America, historic newspapers through 1922
Student Discovery Sets
Lesson plans 

There were also resources from the World Digital Library and the Internet Archive .

In terms of using primary sources with the youngest students, he recommended using images, because they're easy for kids to relate to, they help personalize history, and they don't require any reading skills. Students should work in collaborative partnerships to analyze images to deepen their understanding and learn from each other, which I loved. He suggested that whenever possible, link to the original source and have this analysis be done online so that students can zoom in on the image, but with really young students, he puts the image up on the SmartBoard/ActivBoard and then uses the annotate tool to record their questions and observations.

What was really eye-opening for me is that the use of primary source images doesn't have to relate just to social studies. He described giving students a picture (that we got) of students at a Thanksgiving parade in 1911, which was used as a jumping off point to talk about their own Thanksgivings. With 5th graders studying Black History Month, students looked at the image of Ruby Bridges being walked out of school by the marshals, and it helped them respond to it on a deeply personal level. Another assignment, done with either 4th or 5th graders, saw the traditional "write as though you were on Columbus' ship" assignment replaced with a comparative analysis of Columbus' diary entries with later depictions of his arrival. They even used primary sources to teach students about the planets - students were given historic images of the solar system and asked to examine the pictures to see if they could discern the meaning of the words geocentric and heliocentric. They then had to justify their conclusions by referring back to their image.

It was a great presentation that has left me filled with ideas about how to inject primary sources into the elementary library. 

Innovative Research for Elementary Students

Librarians with ELL focus gave lots of concrete ideas about how to roll out research with young students.  They broke out the research process and provided several practical, easy-to-implement ideas that are included in the google doc notes attached here.

Some BIG take aways:
  • Use multimodal ways to connect with ELL (and all) students including visual images, discussion and movement to help students understand
  • Breakdown tasks, model, practice and gradual release is essential
  • Embed minilessons into research projects to ensure authentic understanding
  • Research always needs an authentic purpose and it can be high tech or low tech

My favorite pieces:
  • Always end every student research checklist with "I can share what I learned"
  • Great links to tools I've not seen before
  • Wonderful rethinking of rubrics and citations for small people

Hacking the Organization

Joyce Valenza led a VERY late night session devoted to looking critically at AASL as an organization for school librarians--addressing big issues around equity and access, recruitment of diverse voices, and most importantly--how do we make ourselves cooler (think YALSA, think ISTE). In a room packed with AASL past-presidents and regional leaders and a good sprinkling of people who'd never been to a national conference, the group dug in and tackled a range of specific topics--concluding after midnight with a slew of suggestions for positive change, including:
  •  Committee work--making it easier to understand what committees do, the time commitment required, and making it easier for new members to join committees
  • Thinking about how to fund conference attendance for members who are not funded through schools or state organizations, and to look at holding some virtual conferences on "off-years" when the large national conference is not in session
  • Recruiting more widely to increase the number of school librarians from under-represented groups, and perhaps to target teacher organizations as a means to explain what we do and how you get here
  • Setting up informal places to meet and hold discussions within the conference; asking conference attendees about their learning goals before they come
  • Providing guidance for newbies who want to present, such as providing exemplary proposals to examine
  • Becoming more techie!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

AASL education evolution..Heidi Hayes Jacobs

Heidi Hayes Jacobs challenges us to be the school R&D providers..looking at educating kids for the future. We need to think hard about learning spaces, connectivity, excellent pedagogy. We need to rethink how we group kids and teachers. We need to make learning more engaging and contemporary, while holding on to important classical teaching techniques (think Socrates) and strong, interesting content. Some great ideas....grade 1 community helper unit goes into the community and asks people in the neighborhood what sort of help they need and how children can help; grade 7 nutrition unit looks at and reacts to the documentary Food Inc. in a unit called "Food Fight." She compared looking at websites and apps as analogous to our approach to reviewing and selecting books. Just as we curate our book collections, we need to curate and tag good online resources and teach students to do this. Study quality film and media production to help students see how this impacts what they see and how it can lead to bias. She shared some incredibly compelling, but easily produced student videos created by elementary students to make the point that our laptops are free, powerful production studios that we need to be using to help our students share what they know both in school and beyond as they make their mark in our ever-more-connected world. Plan to set aside several hours to explore the resources on her website.

Friday, June 26, 2015

great day in San Francisco

It is pretty amazing to be at ALA in San Francisco today and feeling part of history with the Supreme court decision happening on the Eve of PRIDE weekend here, there is a huge feeling of celebration in this city. Roberta Kaplan, who was instrumental in getting to this place just spoke. Awards were given to the librarians in Ferguson and Baltimore, who brought safety and civilization to their communities astonished me by explaining that they just did what librarians d. Nancy Pelosi is speaking now, and she's great. Anita Cellucci and I went to a terrific leadership workshop sponsored by AASL today, and have now got a million good ideas. Tonight were heading to our Affiliate Assembly to talk about national school library concerns and commendations. it could not have been a more satisfying day.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Laura Gardner might talk faster than me!

SOME notes from the fastest talking funnest librarian out there...
(I missed some things...but all her notes are here)

She has 4 green screens -- I need one!  She uses her office because the door shuts; she also seems to have one screen that is a green curtain

The library belongs to EVERYONE in my school--YES!  40 student volunteers, drop-in volunteers

Always keep a list for anyone who drops in so when they ask, there is something for them to do

Uses screencasts and makes tons (she has subscription to screencast o'matic); she takes about 5-20 minutes to create screencasts to provide tutorials and this is how she clones herself--I need to do more of this!!

Volunteers keep the library open--use adults who are not just parents!  Lonely people who work at home, retired teachers (they know things), --has them work in circulation, shelving, read and reorder shelves, displays, decorate, help with technology, delete old books, edit records in catalog.  Cultivate long-term relationships.
Be super positive, make it fun, never say no and be super flexible
Let them know you love them, but don't spend any money on them

Student volunteers--7th and 8th graders; kids open the library!  turn on the lights, turn on the computers, etc.  After school kids come down and get things ready for next day;  perform MANY basic tasks--circulation, shelving (with training), plug in technology, download and test out apps; make deliveries
Kids need to fill out applications and get selected to participate--most kids get selected, but it is perceived to be competitive
She makes it fun!  (She has fun, she IS fun)

All these people doing all these tasks helps ensure that she's working on the most important things and that she's got a group of people (adults and students) in the room who can reinforce her library mission--recommending books, making students feel welcome, etc.

Online scheduling is done with a google spreadsheet that you can set up to meet the scheduling needs of your school; all teachers can get in and sign up for library, computer labs, ipads

She has up to 3 classes in there at a time

Has monthly report and annual report (I need an annual report!)

On social media--instagram, facebook, blogs once a week using weebly app
Instagram is to communicate with kids
FB is to communicate with parents and former students

Consistency matters!  post often and regularly; use hashtags
Use these tools to make the library go 24/7--e.g., on a snowday post where to find ebooks

Bring in chalkboard paint (or my chalkboard stickers that I got for Christmas) to make
an announcement board

annual student survey  with survey monkey to get kids' ideas about what to change--like more comfy chairs; decals for the wall about reading; change biography section so it is about --scientists, athletes, writers, artists, etc

Got rid of reference books and put them in nonfiction and moved graphic novels to front of room (I need to do this!!)

Labeled what book in the series comes next...put the book numbers on the spine

Collaboration--three types:  1. gung ho; 2. will do it if you do everything; 3. scared and dont' want to leave their comfort zone

Teachers 1 rock--you do your best work with them
Teachers 2--let you develop awesome projects if you do the work; tell them you'll do all the technology, help write the rubric, and show them what to do if they grade the content
teachers 3--come more slowly, you have to be willing to wait

Eat Lunch!! You need to chat with your colleagues

GET NAMETAGS for kid volunteers

Note to me:  Get the suggestion book back in the room and get an online clickable option--maybe padlet would work for this well for little kids?

You can categorize your Goodreads list

Sunday, February 8, 2015

AASL L4L Updates From MW15

The AASL Learning4Life (L4L) State Coordinators’ meeting was held during ALA MidWinter 2015. The big news coming out of the L4L Coordinators’ meeting was the formation of the new AASL Standards and Guidelines Editorial Board (SGEB) that will evaluate and update the current AASL Learning Standards and Program Guidelines. AASL is in the final stages of forming this seven member board. Their work will begin in March and run through November 2017. During this time, the SGEB will be responsible for evaluating and writing updates for the current AASL Learning Standards and Program Guidelines. The current version of AASL’s Learning Standards and Program Guidelines provides a foundation for teaching and learning in a collaborative school library program. According to AASL, the updated version “should be transformative and reimagine the roles of school library programs and school librarians in the educational environment.” Once their work gets underway, the SGEB will be requesting input from many voices representing the school library community, including L4L State Coordinators. Please feel free to share with me any input you may have regarding the strengths and areas of concern in relation to the current AASL L4L Standards and Program Guidelines and I will forward your comments along.
Other L4L news: 
The Standards and Guidelines portion of the AASL Website has been reorganized with new sub-headings that provide access to resources in a more logical manner. Also, the archived Lesson Plan Database is available again and is easier to navigate because it is organized by grade level and all parts of the lessons are available in one click. Check out the AASL Learning Standards and Program Guidelines page for links to resources related to the current standards, L4L implementation and the archived Lesson Plan Database.
Amy Short

#alamw15 Chicago

There is something really awesome about a city that has such accessible art.  From the original and interesting architecture to the funky public art, visitors will not be disappointed.  I really enjoyed the (very) short time that we had to walk around and experience the sights and sounds of this city in the proximity of our hotel and conference. 

Here are some of my personal highlights from #alamw15  ALA Midwinter 2015: 

1.  The networking, informal meetings and conversations that take place between our own members and other librarians is just plain awesome.  It is validating to know that others are wrestling with some of the same issues that we are faced with in Massachusetts.
We are stronger together and working with each other will surely help us to grow and understand where our focus must be. 

2.   The Vendor Hall was bustling with activity. I especially enjoyed seeing some of the Advanced Reader copies and walking by authors (whether I knew them or not), it has a sort of "rock concert" feel!  I spent some time in a maker space booth using copper tape to create a light up firefly pin! I'm looking forward to checking out this organization more closely. 

3. Affiliate Assembly offers opportunities to meet, listen and connect.  This year was no exception.   You can read a detailed blog post by Jennifer Reed here.  
The Ask Me How School Librarians Transform Learning campaign was introduced: 

Use these as an "elevator speech" or talking points whenever the opportunity arises. 

4.  The knowledge that Kathy Lowe, Judi Paradis, Jennifer Reed and Amy Short possess collectively is amazing.  I count myself lucky to be able to learn from them.  I continue to strive to understand how to continue to move the Association to meet our memberships needs. Attending ALA Midwinter is just part of that puzzle! 

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Chicago Take Aways

Now that I've had a few days to shovel and think, here are some thoughts on our trip to ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago that I hope you'll find enlightening:

  • The AASL Conference in Columbus next October should be terrific.  Kathy Lowe and Deb Logan are the co-chairs and have assembled an outstanding group to plan a cutting-edge conference for school librarians and their administrators,  The conference committee is offering free registration to any administrator accompanying a librarian.  The author line up is nothing-short of astonishing, and the keynote speakers, preconference offerings and local events sound great.  We were all especially taken with the social media platform being used for the conference.  Check out the "rebel mouse" feed here.
  • Anita Cellucci and I spent hours and hours in conversation about the future of MSLA.  The more I learn about Anita, the more impressed I become.  She's smart, thoughtful, and earnest about her own practice.  She's forward-looking about the school library field, and asks lots of good questions.  We talked a lot about how we can make our organization more useful to members, provide more targeted professional development, and more networking opportunities.  
  • Kathy Lowe, Amy Short and Jennifer Reed know everyone.  When you travel with these women, you are constantly meeting librarians who are at the top of their game.  The informal conversations in hotel lobbies, at dinner, and before and after sessions are often enlightening and provide us with connections that can guide us in our work with the Massachusetts School Library Association.
  • The technology at Midwinter was frustrating.  Lots of meeting rooms did not have good (or any) wifi connection, and lots of sessions were relying on pads and easels rather than google docs to capture ideas.  There were sessions where we sat and got talked to, rather than sharing our ideas.  All these moments confirmed for us that if school librarians are going to be taken seriously, we need to show that we use technology on the same level as our peers at ISTE, and that we need to make our PD interactive and participatory.
  • AASL does have some good resources that are under-utilized.  The organization has recently re-organized its leadership structure and embarked on a new strategic plan.  We looked at a lot of online resources for PD, advocacy, and communication that we need to share more widely and use better.  I am hoping that when AASL President Teri Grief comes to our conference next month she can help us kick off a look at making AASL more relevant for MSLA members.

Books Books Books

Okay--we do go to meetings and we network our brains out, but what we really do A LOT is look at books while we're at Midwinter Meeting. 

For the first time ever, I went to the ALA Youth Media Awards, which really is like the Academy Awards for book geeks.  It was amazing, and because we were clueless, Kathy Lowe, Anita Cellucci and I marched right in and sat in the third row from the front, finding ourselves plunked among the Caldecott Committee, famous authors winning prizes, and the literary illuminati (Kathleen T. Horning was sitting just a few seats away and when they announced that Pat Mora had won the Arbuthnot lecuture award, we heard a squeal and turned around to find she was sitting in the seat behind us).  Of course, you can see the whole list of winners here.

After that, we went into the enormous vendor hall and just began gobbling up free books.  Publishers bring ARCs and giveaways of titles that they hope will catch the eye of librarians.  As people hand you titles, they casually let you know that the author is signing in an hour, or "I think this is Avi's best book in years," while you frantically look for more free canvas bags to stuff them into and wonder how many you can carry before you keel over.

On Friday, I got my first shipment of 8 boxes of books I sent home.  These are going into tote bags to bring to our MSLA conference in March.  As we wrap up our unconference on Sunday, we plan to share our goodies with those attending, so expect there is a good chance you'll be heading home with great new reads to share with your students!  Here's my haul:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Authors and author sessions for 2015 AASL National Conference

At the AASL National Conference Committee meeting I reported on the other day, our author co-chairs, Mary Ann Schuer from California and Karen Perry from North Carolina, reported on their progress in securing authors for panels and concurrent sessions. Here is the information that can be shared at this time, as publicized on the AASL website:

Author Banquet

Friday, November 6 | 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Join colleagues in a delicious meal served in courses interspersed with short author talks from Matt de la Pena, Sonia Manzano, and Rita Williams-Garcia.  Dinner will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Matt, Sonia, and Rita. The theme for the evening is “Diverse Authors, Diverse Voices.”  Books will be available for purchase and author signing will take place following dinner and the roundtable.
Matt de la Peña has established himself as an author to pay attention to. His books continually garner fantastic praise and award recognition. His first picture book, A Nation’s Hope, received 4 starred reviews, was New York Times Top 10 Illustrated Book of 2011, a Booklist Editor’s Choice Best Book of 2011, and an SLJ Best Book of 2011. Appearance made possible by Penguin Young Readers Group.
Sonia Manzano has been a presence on Public Television since the 1970's. After ten years starring as Maria on Sesame Street, Sonia began writing scripts for the series and has fifteen Emmy Awards as part of the Sesame Street writing staff. Her first picture book, the semi-autobiographical No Dogs Allowed!, was published in April 2004 and adapted into a stage musical. In 2013, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, was named a Pura Belpré Honor Book for narrative. Appearance made possible by Scholastic.
Rita Williams-Garcia’s Newbery Honor–winning novel, One Crazy Summer, was a winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award, a National Book Award finalist, the recipient of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and a New York Times bestseller. She is also the author of six distinguished novels for young adults. Appearance made possible by HarperCollins Children's Books.
An additional registration fee of $65 is required in advance of the event.
Author Breakfast
Sunday, November 8 | 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
End your conference with fireworks!  Join friends for brunch as author Rae Carson (Girl of Fire and Thorns) moderates a fantasy panel of Colleen Gleeson (The Clockwork Scarab), Josephine Angelini (Trial by Fire), Kate Messner (All the Answers), and debut author Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes.)  This promises to be a freewheeling discussion of female character development and the fantasy genre for elementary, middle, and high school interests. Books will be available for purchase and author signing will take place following the discussion.
Josephine Angelini is the internationally bestselling author of the Starcrossed trilogy, Starcrossed,Dreamless, and Goddess. She is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. Originally from Massachusetts, she now lives in Los Angeles with her screenwriter husband and three shelter cats. Appearance made possible by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.
Rae Carson’s books tend to contain lots of adventure, magic, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices. She is the author of the acclaimed, New York Times best-selling Girl of Fire and Thorns series:The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, and The Bitter Kingdom. She especially loves to write about questions she doesn’t know the answers to. Rae Carson is originally from California but now lives in Arizona with her husband. Appearance made possible by HarperCollins Children's Books.
Colleen Gleason is an award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author best known for her urban fantasy series The Gardella Vampire Hunters and Stoker & Holmes, a YA steampunk series. Colleen lives in the midwest United States with her family and two dogs, and is always working on her next book. Appearance made possible by Chronicle Books.
Kate Messner is an award-winning author whose books for kids have been New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections. The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. was the winner of the 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers. Kate also spent fifteen years teaching middle school and earned National Board Certification in 2006. She lives on Lake Champlain with her family and loves spending time outside. Appearance made possible by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.
Sabaa Tahir was born in London but grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. After graduating from UCLA, Sabaa became an editor on the foreign desk at The Washington Post. Three summers later, she came up with the concept for her debut novel, An Ember in the Ashes.Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. Appearance made possible by Penguin Young Readers Group.
Registration for the AASL National Conference in Columbus, OH, November 5-8, 2015 opens in early February at

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Assembling with the Affiliates: Day One

"What is the Affiliate Assembly and what does it do?" Is a question I am often asked by school librarians at ALA meetings and conferences. If the people active in the school library world are confused, I can imagine what school librarians back in the trenches are thinking. "What value does the Assembly bring to my work?" "Why have an Affiliate?" "Why send reps from Massachusetts?" 

I am happy to report that we are trying to remedy this lack of understanding about Affiliate, all while strengthening the organization. The AASL Affiliate Assembly met today to begin a conversation around community building that will be continued into the Annual Meeting in San Francisco in June.

Prior to the meeting, we, as Affiliate Reps, were asked to think about the following three questions:

1. What are your aspirations/goals for the Affiliate Assembly?

2. What would be possible obstacles to reaching those aspirations/goals?

3. What would be solutions that would allow Affiliate members to reach these goals together?

We met in small groups, each with representation the different regions. The data from this meeting will be used as a starting place in June. I am eager to hear the responses from the other groups, on the mean time, here's what my group is thinking:

The Affiliate should produce something tangible that school librarians can use - a statement or a product
The Affiliate should work to improve crowd sourcing among the states-communicate initiatives and ideas
The Affiliate should help with advocacy.
AASL a should build a relationship with ISTE
AASL would take on more STEM/STEAM presence
Adopt and Promote a tech-infused library program
More free activities and resources for school library initiatives- level the playing field for all school library programs - maybe states buy into AASL sources and then distribute. (I.e., school library month - some free resources, but many cost money and budgets are limited)

Vision of school libraries is often out-dated
Perception of school library programs as being all about literacy, but not science and technology
Frequent turnover of Affiliate reps

More state library associations collaborate with state CUE organizations to put on conferences like the MSLA/MassCUE conference.
AASL taking on a bigger social networking presence - Twitter night, etc...
More resources like the elevator speech cards and buttons
Have one national/regional/state conference theme - builds consistency of message, lowers costs,  spreads the work. 

We've got our work cut out for us!

AASL 2015 National Conference Committee Meeting

With Debra Kay Logan from Ohio, I have the pleasure of co-chairing AASL's next national conference, which will be held in Columbus, OH, November 5-8, 2015. MSLA'S Judi Paradis is co-chair of the subcommittee in charge of selecting and scheduling the concurrent sessions. Our entire committee of over a dozen school librarians from around the country, along with staff from AASL, met today. This is our second time meeting in person, but the first time everyone was able to attend. We hold monthly conference calls, but it was great to see everyone face-to-face.

Here are some quick notes of highlights that we will be reporting to the AASL Affiliate Assemby tomorrow.

Theme: Experience Education Evolution

We are looking at school librarians as proactive leaders in an educational environment that is in a state of constant flux. Change is the constant. The conference will embrace being aware of, informed about, managing, leading and assisting others with changing resources, programs, technology, methodologies, standards and teacher expectations. We want school librarians to leave Columbus feeling that they have a more than strong grasp of the evolving educational environment. We also want them to feel innovative, invigorated, inspired, excited and ready to stretch old boundaries and instill new energy into their school library programs. We want administrators to leave with a clear picture of school librarians at the forefront as a confident, willing, comfortable and nimble vanguard. We also see a connection between evolution and revolution. We are not passive in this changing system. We are advocates for students, teachers and learning

  • Administrators free with their school librarian
  • Opening general session each day with thought-leaders in education
  • Heidi Hayes Jacobs, expert in curriculum and instruction 
  • Project Connect Panel: Administrators Empowering School Library Programs, sponsored by Follett
  • Brian Selznick, author of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, with a new book coming out in time for our conference
  • Closing keynote: Eszter Hargittai, who believes the concept of the digital native is a myth
  • Highlight affiliates and regions by providing opportunity for attendees to meet and network with others from their state and region
  • Exploratorium/IdeaXchange is now the IdeaLab, featuring learning stations with large screen monitors showcasing best practices in topics related to education evolution
  • UnConference with new twists and maybe some late-night games
  • Fun closing session that will be uniquely Columbus
Registration will open in early February.

In a separate post, I'll write more about author events.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Chicago Midwinter Meetings

Packing here for my last far away Midwinter meeting with MSLA.  Next year we'll be a subway ride away in Boston--so get ready to join us!
Midwinter is a working conference and we are all going with missions for MSLA--Most of us will be working as part of AASL Affiliate Assembly where school librarians from around the nation gather to address concerns and set standards for school libraries around the country.  Kathy Lowe is co-chair of the committee planning the next annual AASL National Conference and I'm working with her as co-chair of programs.  It is exciting to plan a conference on this scale with a team of librarians from all over the U.S.   We also plan to go through the exhibitor hall to gather freebies to give away at our Unconference Day in Amherst in March, and of course, we'll be checking out great authors and speakers with an eye toward sharing the best of the current library world with our members.
Keep checking in for updates throughout the weekend!