On the day of the Fall Spectacular, I went to Papillion LaVista South High School ready to learn alongside my fellow school librarians. My warrior strength cup of coffee was in my hand and I was ready to go. It was a blast! To be honest, it was difficult to present because there were quite a few other sessions I was interested in attending! The first break out session of the morning, I presented on makerspaces. It's fun to share some of the things I've learned about makerspaces over the last couple years. Part of the time was devoted to discussion and collaboration. There's a collaborative PowerPoint I set up where everyone was able to share their makerspace goals and accomplishments. It's so great to learn alongside fellow librarians. Setting up and maintaining makerspaces without pulling your hair out is a big ordeal. It's a lot easier when you've got awesome colleagues to work alongside.
Next, I attended McKenzie White's session on trauma and culturally-invested libraries. The conversations we had were very honest about the climate of teaching these days. And as supporters of all learners in the school, us librarians have heavy responsibilities. We have more and more to tackle every day. Research has come out concerning the negative effects that teaching in a trauma-infested environment can have on our roles as educators. McKenzie shared practical tips and tools for librarians to implement to combat tough teaching conditions. Students crave and deserve predictability, adaptability, and connectedness. To provide this to every learner in our busy libraries is often an daunting task. But with the tools shared by McKenzie, I feel more prepared to tackle anything life throws at me and the kids at my school.
My second presentation that day was the panel of school librarians: Cindy Jackson, Kelly Kenny, Jen Prasch, Liz von Nagy, and myself. It has been an honor to work close to these amazing and spectacular ladies. Getting to know them better, I can attest to you that they are as kind and funny as they are brilliant! Although I like to share cool stuff going on in my library, I also enjoy listening to these rockstar librarians. Every time I talk to them, I learn something new. I go away with a thought--something I might like to try out or improve. That's what days like the NSLA Fall Spectacular are all about!
For the last session that day, I attended Jenna Reeh's technology life hacks. She always has something new to share! And she is so tech-savvy. Any time I've attended any of her sessions at previous events like NETA, I always feel engaged, heard, and like I've learned. She is a great example to anyone who wants to try presenting to adult learners. I've stolen a couple of her ideas for my own presentations, to be honest. Some cool tools I've bookmarked to check out from her session include: Insert Learning, Go Synth, Brush Ninja, and Yell key. I'd definitely recommend anybody check those out!
And, oh my goodness--that was the end of the NSLA Fall Spectacular. I wish I had Hermione's time turner so I could go back and attend more sessions. And I am not ashamed to let my nerdery show. As much effort as it takes to get something like this prepared, it felt like such a short day! I wished it could've lasted all weekend long! I had a great time. I am very grateful to those on the NSLA board who've put so much work into getting the event all organized and put together.
The environment surrounding learning and libraries is changing. Education is on the brink of a revolution. Improving school libraries is more than a method of job insurance. Every librarian I have met through NSLA is resolved to trying new things for the betterment of all library users. We see that the traditional librarian role is enough--it's more than enough. Be we aren't willing to settle. We are willing to go the extra mile, make every moment count, and revolutionize this profession to help every library user build a better future.
See you all soon, you rebel librarians.
Library & Technology Teacher
Walnut Hill Elementary
Microsoft Innovative Educator
Minecraft Certified Educator
Common Sense Media Certified Educator
This blog is a joint effort by members of the NSLA Executive Board. We hope to provide relevant information, tips and tools to help you in your journey.