American Association of School Librarians Conference 2011

I must admit, there have been times when I question my knowledge of all things library. Or, rather, I wonder if a passion for book, curiosity that leads to inquiry, a lust for knowledge and eagerness to learn is enough to implement and manage a successful school library program. To be clear, it isn’t a lack of faith in myself but rather a yearning to know more. The library is a valuable resource for 21st century learners. Information literacy has never been more important. In the age of Google, our children must learn to weed through excess information to find the nuggets that are valuable and useful. They also need to retain an appreciation for good old fashioned books.

Crossing the street from the convention center to my hotel.

I was so excited when the opportunity to attend AASLL11 presented itself. Not only would I be able to attend conference sessions that would inspire and teach but I would be able to finally connect with other school librarians. This one simple pleasure has eluded me. As you know, I read and reread the sessions available. I made list after list of options, cross checking those that conflicted with each other and tried not to stress over my final choices. Let me just say, the conference did not disappoint!

Beautiful Downtown skyline

Minnesota, The Land of 10,000 lakes is beautiful! The air was clear and crisp. The trees were yellow, orange and red. The people were friendly and charming. It was the perfect setting for a bunch of school librarians to share and explore.

I attended 5sessions total. The first was very interesting and useful. Titled Google Docs and Apps for School Library Programs: Create and Collaborate!, the speaker offered numerous suggestions to best utilize Google Docs. Some of the ideas were familiar to me. I currently use Google docs for Drama Club as a way to connect with parents. Other suggestions were new and exciting. How would you like to see an embedded book suggestion form in my Library Blog? I also have some plans to teach the students various ways to use Google Docs.

I just love the fresh air!

Another session I attended was presented by librarians from the Bellevue Public Schools in Nebraska who created the library curriculum for K-6 libraries. I was very excited for this particular session. I know first hand the difficulties that arise when trying to write lesson plans without a guide. I certainly am not alone in such a venture. While the library becomes more and more vital school do not have the resources to implement a curriculum. Yet, what the library does for a child’s education must be defined if we are to remain an integral part of the school setting. Working for a Catholic school I find myself in a unique situation; or so I thought. Many of the librarians at AASL11 were from parochial schools.  Through my conversations with them I have not only come home with a great deal of ideas for my lesson plans but also a clearer idea of  what is vital to our children’s education if they are to become creative and informed adults.

Stay tuned for a few more blogs on my conference experience including an account of my private school library visit and a really cool idea for our 5th grade research project.

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