From the SLJ review, “The mix of author star power, participatory events, and dozens of sessions at the 17th biennial conference (Nov. 5–8) in Columbus, OH, kept librarians charged during 16-hour days. With 2,658 participants on site, including librarians and exhibitors, attendance was lower than the 2013 conference, which registered 3,000 participants”
Post-Conference state--tired (even more so after catching reflection in mirror), a tad panicked about all that did NOT get done while I was away; slightly guilt-ridden for missed work, money spent, and knowing others who would love to have gone but couldn’t for one reason or another.
Sounds inspiring, right? (sarcasm, of course). But despite bags under my eyes, an emptier wallet, and slight pangs of guilt, I’m beyond INSPIRED and MOTIVATED and on a mission to not make my #aasl15 a stand-alone and low impact experience. If I pack away what I learned along with my luggage, it was experience of little or no benefit to my library community. If I continue to #leadoutloud with newfound knowledge & vision, then it was a worthwhile investment all around.
That said, here goes:
Guilt be Gone:
Right or wrong, guilt occupies much (too much) of my thinking. If it was just healthy guilt like eat better, call my parents, send a card, don’t rob a bank, then all would be normal. But when a “Shoulda coulda woulda” focus gets consuming, it merely clogs the brain. The biggest pang I have a hard time responding to is the post-conference comments from those who did NOT go…. “must be nice”, “how do you GET to do that”, “nice of you to come back to work” and the like. It most often comes from those who aren’t likely to have gone no matter what, don’t even enjoy such opportunities, and are likely unsure about what actually happens at a conference like this.
Though I know there will always be “haters” or “green monsters”, I tend to worry about that more than I should, so I’m committing myself to not being defensive when such comments are made or implied. In reality, it’s MY issue and I need to “go Elsa” and let it go.
Lovin’ Me Some Library Peeps:
Imagine you are lucky enough to be in a profession that you love, are passionate about learning and doing more, and are open to change. Now imagine sharing that energy with a couple thousand people who are in the same boat! Need I say more. Chance conversations, cab rides, coffee lines, and events were rich with exchanges beyond the 5Ws. I initiated more “what do you think about this idea” with new friends, inquired as to how people were addressing….(various issues), and dug a little deeper to find out what was (and wasn’t ) thriving in their worlds. And as others did the same, conversations would exponentially share the stories of our hopes, dreams, ideas, and inspiration.
Though perhaps there is no magic formula as to which workshops to attend, this year I tried to focus on space/facility topics and those that addressed data and evaluation (of librarian and the program). I gathered significant information, but I was honestly underwhelmed by the formal sessions. Most all I attended were “sit and get” will presentations that were sometimes hard to see from even the closet rows. If you have to preface every slide with the comment “I know you probably can’t see this,” then do something about it AHEAD OF TIME. I understand that it is hard to travel with props, support materials, and interactive options (sometimes wifi is an issue), but I really think the interaction from the crowd offer more than a hand in the air poll about the demographic of the crowd. Again, I left with a great deal of information, but was only wowed by one panel group that inspired me enough to say, “you missed a great one” for those who went elsewhere.
I know the unconference offered the complete opposite in terms of engagement and left folks inspired despite the hours, but an ill-timed cold left me useless for this late night event. I heard, however, good things from those who took part.
There is as much time and place for expanding BEYOND my peeps in like situations and that, too, was powerful for me this time. Four vendor “mini classes” (Britannica, MachinVia, Follett, and Springshare) in the trade show shifted my thinking in terms of the best way to curate, access, market and deploy rich resources for our communities.
I was able to get the ear of a “head honcho” to express frustration with a current product from one vendor and gain insight into other products I would like to pursue from others. Already received a follow up and feel like progress was made! The ideal “combo platter” for me was a school librarian doing a mini-class on one of the products being showcased. Her perspective and “real live librarian” perspective hit home for me.
Dinner focus groups are high impact ways to combine culinary fun with focused conversations. Thank you, Rosen and Britannica for allowing me those types of evenings. Grateful and connected as we move forward together!
The Project Connect Panel (Follett) had me high-fiving all over the place. I”ve participated in one of their sessions before and was equally inspired. I look forward to being part of the movement (and rallying others along in the path) to raise awareness of the power of strong school libraries by creating higher expectations from administration AND school librarians for a dynamic and indispensable partnership that transforms student learning. Hearing stories, expectations, visions, and concerns from school administrators and their view on school libraries/librarians was a powerful one. I am proud that many of my administrators could easily have been at the podium to to share how their leadership shows their belief in and support of strong school librarians and library programs. It’s up to me, and each of us, to do our part to ensure that librarians are leading the way and administrators understand and support how strong programs align with their goals.
Authors never disappoint in their message, their passion, and their support of libraries. Thank you to the entire gaggle of authors who shared their messages! I love the frenzy, the groupies, the mile long autograph lines, and the partnerships we share with our rockstars.
No matter where I go, I create time to explore the area and did the same in Columbus. Some beautiful fall weather inspired some fresh air walks all over downtown, through an evening gallery hop, a fan-filled walk to the Ohio State stadium where 100,000 plus were gathering, trips to North Market, outdoor cafes, and an amazing toy store.
It might be tempting to unpack, file what I learned, and get back to where I was before I went. Tempting, yes but not going to happen. So many ideas were sparked at AASL 2015 and none of them are sitting idle. Watch out for my leadership with:
- Virtual Book Club
- digital makerspace
- Libraries Transform movement in NYS
- an article about inquiry
- proposals for Phoenix 2017
- grant application for a Big Read
- recruitment effort for more AASL members in NY
- Embracing our Mascot/Branding our Library
- Proposal for library staff TEAM approach
- Shifts in Library catalog with 3 new products
Grateful to have gone....even more inspired to bring the ideas and inspiration to life!
Daily Darwin (AASL newsletters from each day)