Monday, November 8, 2010

Something to talk about

If you were at the NCSLMA conference last week, you had something to talk about.

If you weren't there, you missed 2 panel discussions that were frank, forward-focused, ferocious at times, and frightening to some. If you weren't in Winston-Salem, you need to connect with someone who was there* and talk about where our profession is headed.

Whatever your reaction to the panelists' remarks, you have to admit it got us talking about our library lives. It's true that some of the statements were pretty strong, even hard to hear, but I also believe that those assertions were meant to challenge our thinking about our current practice and the future of our profession.

Book lovers in the audience probably cringed at the pointed remarks about storytime. Hard as it was to hear, there was truth in that statement. Unfortunately, there are some in our field who wield storytime as an easy way to fill the time, simply reading aloud without enriching or connecting the literature to the curriculum beyond the boundaries of the book. Even when our schedules make us feel undervalued and overworked, we HAVE to be promoting reading in all formats, focusing on student learning, and supporting school-wide goals for student achievement. If we're using storytime to merely fill the time, then we're not adding any value with our school library programs.

If you're like me, books worked their magic and lured me into this profession. But books can no longer be the end-all and be-all of school libraries. If we're too focused on the primacy of the book or if we let our easy love of the book interfere with the teaching of other essential skills and content, then there isn't a very promising future for school libraries. Never mind the future, we're doing today's learners a tremendous disservice.

So, what should we do about our peers whose best just isn't good enough any more? Does it really matter if the school librarian/teacher librarian/media specialist at another school isn't at the top of their professional game? It matters. I am convinced that we have to elevate the practice of our peers -- their practice shapes the opinions of stakeholders about our profession and more importantly, their students deserve better! Whether we want to believe it or not, we're all in the same boat and we need to start talking and paddling hard in the same direction.

So, let's keep the discussion going. NCSLMA isn't just the conference. NCSLMA is us, a reflection of our daily work life and a vibrant professional community if we make it so.

Just sayin' . . . North Carolina, let's give 'em something to talk about.

Kelly Brannock
Past President, NCSLMA 2009-10

*check out the Twitter stream from the conference at #ncslma2010.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Talking about the NCSLMA Conference

What are conference authors, speakers, and attendees saying about this year's NCSLMA conference?

Lisa Yee
Lisa Yee blogs about her experience at NCSLMA in Winston-Salem in her latest entry at her blog:

Check out the photos of Lisa and Peepy, her muse, along with school librarians Becky Palgi, Beth Obenschain, Evelyn Bussell, and Yvette Davis and authors Cynthia Kadohata and Kirby Larson. You might even find yourself in the pictures from the author luncheon with Lisa on Friday!

Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson just blogged about attending the NCSLMA conference -- he looked at attendance at our conference and others, and then wonders if library conferences are fading away? Here's the URL for his blog:

On Twitter
#ncslma2010 @DebLogan we have to stop advocating for #teacherlibrarians and start advocating for students and who else we serve. - @jenniferlagarde

Media centers have been seen as a respite from testing, but this doesn't help w advocacy or relevance #ncslma2010 - @kellybrannock

Home from #ncslma2010 and fired up. Look for something big soon. - pcaggia

What are you talking about?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Conference Update: What Great Sessions You Have!

Okay, folks, if you haven't looked at the conference program online, go look now! I'll wait.

Well? Aren't those some incredibly, fabulous concurrent sessions happening on Thursday and Friday?

Yes! Those are your smart, creative, forward-thinking colleagues presenting some of those sessions.

And yes, those are some well-known national school librarians presenting some other sessions.

And yes, those are some incredible children's and YA authors and illustrators presenting those other sessions!

So you're coming to the conference, right? Great!

But what about you? No, you didn't pre-register. Well, that's okay, you can still come on Thursday morning and register on-site for the two day conference.

So you can only make one day? Then do it! Take Thursday or Friday off and get in your car and head to Winston for some of the best professional development you'll get!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Conference Update: Guess Who's Autographing?! (And There's Food!)

Have you seen the list of authors that will be signing their books at Thursday's night's reception and autographing session?! There is an author for everyone!

The All Conference Reception and Author Autographing Session is Thursday, November 4th from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

You definitely do not want to miss the opportunity to meet these authors:

And there's food -- lots of food -- planned for the reception! So much food you could make your own "dinner with an author" session while you graze the buffet, enjoy a drink from the cash bar, and get your favorite author to sign his or her latest book!

See you Thursday night!