I had the opportunity to attend the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado in February. Wow! What an experience!!! I would like to share a few things with you that I took away from the conference and a few tips if you ever get the chance to attend a national conference
First of all, there were so many sessions! So many that during several of the blocks there were at least 5 sessions I wanted to attend! One thing I did in the weeks leading up to the conference was went through the schedule several times. I would pick my favorites for each time slot. Once I got to the conference I went to the session that was my top pick and if it wasn’t what I thought it would be I got up and went to the next one! Time is too precious to sit through a presentation that I was not interested in. The presenters are aware of the time constraints so people were coming and going through most of them. I recommend you do this at any conference you go to. Don’t sit through something you aren’t interested in.
The next big surprise for me was the vendor show. I have never been to a library specific conference so this was a huge surprise. All of the publishers and authors were giving away books, bags, pencils and much more. I was so excited to see some of my student favorites too! I tried to be selective, but it was so amazing! So many books! I drove to the conference so I had the luxury of taking as much as I wanted. If you were flying, that would not be the case. However, they did have an onsite post office so you could ship the books back directly to your library!
Of course the hot topic for school librarians was the new standards. I sat in on several sessions and the affiliate meeting to learn more. It was very interesting to really see all of the advocacy efforts that are going on behind the scenes for the implementation of the new standards. Each of the sessions really highlighted the online resources that they have developed for school librarians. There are so many things but one of my favorite resources were the persona cards. Each of these cards were developed to help you convey information on the standards to the different stakeholders in your library, such as teachers, administration and parents. I highly recommend going to the standards implementation page and reviewing all of the resources they have provided. http://standards.aasl.org/implementation/
The last thing that I wanted to plug for Nebraskans was Do Space. If you haven’t heard about Do Space you need to check in out when you are in the Omaha area! I was able to listen to their Executive Director, Rebecca Stavick tell her story. It was very inspiring. Do Space is ultimately helping to decrease the digital divide in their community. They are providing access to technology for others that would not have it. She considers their model very similar to a public library. I can’t wait to visit Do Space soon! Visit their website to learn more https://www.dospace.org/.
- Angela Blankenship