Feed on

This was asked today on our SCASL Listserv by a 2nd grade teacher, and I responded.

Can anybody send me suggestions on where you received your MLIS? I’d rather take classes online. I hope this is ok to ask!


I decided to share my thoughts here as well.


My name is Cathy Jo Nelson, and I am the current President of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians, and am a product of the phenomenal MLIS Program from the University of South Carolina’s School of Library Information Science (1997). USC-SLIS prepared me so well for my career choice to move into a school library. Every class I took was extremely relevant and made me quite the “future-ready” librarian I am even today.


I am proud to say that USC-SLIS is totally committed to all SC Librarians, and works hand in hand with SCASL and our very own state department of education liaison, Regina Thurmond, to make SC Librarians the very best in the nation. Truly together, USC-SLIS, SCASL and the SC SDE have created a partnership for professional development targeting librarians that is one of the strongest in the nation, and other states and SLIS programs vie to pattern after. I attribute this dominantly to our proactive MLIS Program from USC-SLIS.


You won’t find a more caring staff of adjunct and full professors. You will find yourself completely ready to pass certification exams after only a few courses. You will find yourself on the cutting bloody edge of technology in education, best practices in teaching and learning, and totally embracing the concept of collaborative partnerships within the school and community, all to benefit the young minds educators are charged to teach.


Another great take-away from getting your MLIS Degree from USC-SLIS is the lifelong connection you will have. My professors and classmates even today remain friends and mentors to me in my professional practice. I can pick up the phone or text, tweet, or email and within minutes usually have a response, answers, or readily available ideas for a project or problem, and often even an expert to consult.


I graduated from the USC-SLIS program in 1997, fully certified and ready to take on any school library program, equipped with skills and expertise to be a trail blazer in my first library job in, of all places, your district, Aiken County (New Ellenton Middle.) The position I took in the fall of 1997 was for a part time librarian, part time middle school English teacher. While disappointed it wasn’t a full time position in the library, I gladly took on the challenge of running a dynamic library program while splitting my time between middle school English classes. I had no assistant, so essentially closed and locked those doors for half a day. I did not complain, though, but rather made the best of my situation, seeking to collaborate, offer technology professional development, and working to get kids, teachers, and community involved in library programming when the library was open. I used everything I’d been taught from USC-SLIS to make this part time librarianship the best I could bring to that school. By the end of the first nine weeks, my principal was enamored, and not only hired a full time library assistant so the now active and thriving library never had to be closed during the school day, but also hired a part time teacher to take on my English classes taught half of my day. I was finally a full time librarian, able to collaborate, work to improve the collection, teach teachers about best practices in technology and instruction, and become the librarian I am today.


I will close with this. The return on my investment in choosing the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science Program is immeasurable in many ways. As a younger professional married to a football coach, I followed my husband’s coaching career all over this state from district to district (Orangeburg, Aiken, Chester, York/Rock Hill 3, Horry, and now Spartanburg 6.) I never struggled to prove I was capable of taking any existing library program and making it better, no matter where these moves took me, and often despite typical public school library issues (fixed schedules, limited budgets, etc.) I have thrived in all the positions I have had. I attribute that to not only my training from USC-SLIS, but also the continued support from this very same institution.


Yes the faculty and staff have changed over the years, as there is no longer a Dan Barron encouraging me to “grow or die,” nor a Donna Shannon encouraging me to make the student’s library program indispensable, nor an Elizabeth Miller walking into the shelves and pulling a book with a kind and gentle reminder that it is too old for the shelves, and to be sure and have that intern find and weed it. I do have new friends there in which I’ve never had a course under, only the luxury of following their blogs, youtube channels, or professional development offerings through a variety of resources, from face-to-face to online and virtual (Dr. Karen Gavigan, Dr. Heather Moorefield-Lang, Dr. Lucy Green, Dr. Davide Lankes). The learning these new faculty and staff members continue to add to my practice is still very much valued. Amazingly, I don’t hear my librarian connections from other programs say or share anything even remotely the same. As a matter of fact, they also clamor for offerings from the USC-SLIS faculty offerings too. If you want to check for your self, just come to our SCASL Conference March 14-16, 2018 in downtown Greenville, SC, and see the standing room only sessions offered by the very faculty and staff from USC-SLIS. This truly speaks for itself.


USC-SLIS is truly where you will get the most bang for your buck, simply put.


The new national standards for Libraries was released November 10, 2017 for sale. The book cost $199.00, and takes the three previous library standards documents and combines them into one complete with scenarios, helpful infographics, and more.

While the book is expensive, available only from the American Library Association, South Carolina Librarians can purchase it for just $99. In January and February 2018, there are slated Librarian Regional Meetings collectively planned by Regina Thurmond of the South Carolina Department of Education, Dr. Karen Gavigan of the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science, and Cathy Jo Nelson, President of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians. Plans for this librarian focused professional development include a general session keynote and breakout sessions that feature these brand new AASL National Standards for School Librarians. Those interested in making this purchase at the discounted price should visit scasl.net/standards to act now. Those who make the purchase by December 15, 2017 will have their copy for the Librarians Professional Development Regional Meetings.
weeded books in storage

Storage for now

It has finally happened. We are severely reducing our nonfiction section in the library. Over the last two years we have probably weeded 7000 books. Most are given away, but we still have many that are now in a storage room with no hope of being adopted, and too old to consider donating somewhere. We continue searching for solutions. Here’s a sneak peak at our current solution, which really is NOT a solution at all. It’s just an unused storage room near the library, and actually was a part of the library at one time. I have easy access as my key opens this door. So this is where I’m storing weeded books.  I knew in May I would need boxes for the weeding, so I kept all the yearbook boxes. We are boxing as we get boxes now.

Our dominant research method features students using Ebsco and Gale, and Discovery Education. With the decision to heavily weed and reduce the nonfiction section of the library, we  have just recently invested in Ebsco’s Academic Ebook Collection, which will offer our students another digital resource for research. This will also offset our lack of physical nonfiction books. Don’t get me wrong, we will continue to have a nonfiction area. It will feature more current material, but we will probably never again have the size of a nonfiction section like we had again.



Current Weeded Books Project – Turkeys and such!

Untitled design









How to make these turkeys and similar projects? Check these links and videos out.

And some step-by-step directions here.

Happy Weeding and Happy Thanksgiving y’all.


Did anyone read about or see the news spot about the rejected books that were sent to a school by First Lady Melania Trump in honor of National Read Aloud Day? It was shared on our SC librarians listserv this morning by SCASL Immediate Past President Cindy Symonds as “food for thought.”  I didn’t have time to click through the link until this afternoon after school, but read it I did, along with the many responses the post received from other SC Librarians. The consensus it seems, even from the news outlet Cindy shared, was that the librarian rejected the books as a political statement, citing the school is not a needy school and the Dr. Seuss books are a bit “cliche.” The story  was also featured in a Horn Book Blog post. I encourage you to view/read the news post and the Horn Book post.

Would I have done the same?

Had I received ten Dr. Seuss books (and I’m a high school librarian,) I would have been a tad unhappy too, but only because of the grade level. I certainly wouldn’t have rejected them. I feel I would have worked to find the right new home for the books. I likely would have offered the books to a school (or more likely, schools) or even daycares, shelters, and other places where the books would have been more appreciated and loved. If I had been seeking a spotlight moment from it, one that might get covered by the 6pm news, I would have shared a public thank you, followed by my plan to regift them. That would have garnered a much more positive spin for the library and school in the article for sure.

Already planned to do something similar

We are reading The Hate U Give for an upcoming book club.

It reminded me that I will be giving away two class sets of books,  All American Boys by Jason Reynold and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, once my school finishes using them. Both sets are books from a Donors Choose grant I received, and we want to pay it forward. I shared that with my fellow SC librarians during early August and again today, and I have a lengthy list of friends who want some (or all) of these two sets of books.

National Read a Book Day

Geez! Now I have to go add Sept 6 as National Read a Book Day to my school calendar. We are, after all, well into our third week of school by then.  How embarrassing that this day was NOT even on my radar as a day I should promote to my students! That’s the one positive (other than my promise to pay it forward with the grant books I will not need after our book club meetings and class use) that I can take away from this entire issue.

Library Flier



Considering my current limitations (can’t break down the walls, sorry to say) this is a vision I have for improving the library.

Created using Google Draw – My vision for updating my current library

Notable changes/wishful thinking:

  • All furniture on casters
  • Laptops in charging carts at desk for checkout; smaller circ desk
  • Teen friendly comfortable seating in a variety of locations and styles
  • Tile flooring area with a variety of tables (tall and short) to allow visitors with food an appropriate place – after all, we are just across the hall from a cafeteria that is in full view with our windows that face it
  • Presentation-Collaborative-multi-use digital spaces along the columns
  • Device charging bar facing cafeteria side with large windows
  • Some columns and tables as dry erase thinking spaces

Here is a side by side comparison of the current layout with my vision.

Created using Canva

Here is the key though some of the items are no longer represented in my newer vision.

I kept the tables near the front as some classes that visit on the spur of the moment may need to have an area readily accessible for a class situation. They are near the front instead of near the cafeteria because that area is a huge distraction when trying to do work. There is a lot to see when looking over toward the cafeteria during third block when lunches are going on, so much so in fact that we are asked to cover the windows during high stakes testing.

What else?

Give me some suggestions for other things I should include!!

Recently I had to respond to some questions in a course I’m taking for an “add-on” endorsement on my teaching certificate. I thought I’d share some of it here.

How is your Media Center currently structured to support an environment that promotes literacy?

The Dorman High School Library is laid out in a very traditional layout for a library. Pictured here, you can see the Cathedral ceiling and windows; what you can’t see is the sides (right and left) that have a 12-14 foot dropped ceiling aligned with the white lines above the brick columns. The room is basically symmetrical, with the wings off the center being roughly the same shape and size, with only a slight difference. This picture is from eight or ten years ago, so even though some of the hardware has changed, the layout remains the same.

Picture taken April 2012

The 40 laptops are arranged in a basic center square sitting on computer tables that provide connection to a wired network drop, but they do utilize wifi when disconnected. Most classes opt to use them as they appear here. The library’s computers are the only ones in the building not in a lab that have access to printing, so there is a lot of traffic and use due to printing needs.

We are physically located in the center of the main building, residing between the two major arteries that divide the building into an A wing and a B wing, front hall and rear hall (think center of the hashtag). Three years ago Dorman added a newly constructed C wing, but the library still serves the entire complex, despite being a good distance from the new C wing. The location is within proximity to one major cafeteria, the study hall class, the main office, and the main guidance office. (Yes there is a second cafeteria and guidance office in C wing, and these primarily serve classes in that wing.) We are the hub of the school. Outside of scheduled classes, our teens choose to visit before school, during lunch, or when they have open blocks in their schedule. The kids visit to read, use the computers, work on projects, or sit in our comfortable seating. It is not unheard of for there to be up to 100 students visiting at one time. We offer classes print and electronic resources and several areas to spread out and work. Three classes have easily functioned in the library at one time, and we have even borrowed space outside the library to support learning or projects when space is limited in the library, such as for example, hosting book club in the C wing guidance office conference area. To facilitate collaboration, we have a table set up in one of the library offices as well as just behind the circulation desk. Even though our space for collaboration is limited, we have found that oftentimes the best collaborative conversations happen in unexpected places, such as out in the middle of the library, in the hallway between classes, over the phone or email, or in the teachers’ lounges, so we do not stress the limited collaborative space. As the map shows, many of the conference rooms the library enjoyed before our time are now assigned to other faculty/staff. Our nonfiction resources are on the left side. The very popular graphic novels and Manga are towards the front left, pulled out of nonfiction to a section of their own. The right side of the library primarily holds the Fiction books. Reference is declining and inter shelved in the Nonfiction according to their Dewey classification.

Briefly describe what your Media Center currently “looks” like.

The Google Drawing below shows our current library layout. As one can see, we are limited in “wall space” since we enjoy an open airy layout. Most walls are lined from the floor to eight feet high with shelving for books.

I took this picture in September 2013 to show that kids will move to this location looking for a comfy seat.

We have to get really creative with the space on the brick columns and shelving ends to decorate or set up book displays. When we have projects to display (a recent example was for the 3d models of a battle scene) we usually block off an area using chairs around a section of tables, and then create an entrance and exit for traffic flow to allow viewing. There is a small area of comfortable seating that resembles furniture one might see in a doctor’s office waiting room, but because it is all we have, students gravitate toward it.

Taken in Sept 2013, this shows how we use our massive brick columns for displays and more.

Another pic from May 2014 shows how we use our limited wall space.

This picture shows the low 3ft shelving in the Nonfiction area of the library. (Yes they were originally taken way back when to feature student artwork from recylced weeded books.)

How could you improve the way your Media Center supports literacy?

We just went through a serious weeding in our nonfiction area.  Our current project that focuses on the nonfiction books is condensing the shelves. I would strive for a Learning Commons approach instead of the current traditional library we are using. In a perfect world, I would remove all of the 3 foot high shelving from the library to free up floor space. I would also remove all the computer tables, and instead acquire more comfortable and teen friendly seating spaces for students to enjoy. I’d like a charging bar facing the cafeteria windows. The laptops would go into a couple of laptop carts that would be managed behind the circulation desk, laptops being checked out as needed to students for library use. I would acquire a couple of the large digital flat screen displays (LCD, Plasma, Interactive), and set up conference style tables, allowing students to hook up a laptop or their own device for group presentations or collaborative work. In this same vein, I would try to acquire dry erase tables and maybe make a couple of the brick columns dry erase too, encouraging students to utilize the space as needed. All tables, chairs and low shelving (if we had any to remain) would be on casters so that they could be relocated easily, allowing for a more flexible use of the space. Having flexibility would allow us to set up a makerspace that is accessible and easy to move/relocate. With the condensing of the nonfiction, I would relocated Graphic Novels and manga to a more accessible space, and I would set up an area of urban lit as well. I’m not ready to genrify the collection as a whole, but condensing the nonfiction certainly makes it a thought worth entertaining.

I will continue to show my administration high school libraries who have moved to a similar format, even though to date this has not been successful. I am optimistic that with the ongoing new construction and renovations of area high schools (Byrnes and Spartanburg High Schools) I’ll be able to show him it is a growing trend to move towards a Learning Commons Concept and away from the traditional library that we utilize today.

This Google Drawing shows the layout of the library as it is now, and has been for the duration of its existence.

Key for the Google Drawing

Why do this?

My assignment in the course I’m taking called for a similar assignment. I now have to go back and tweak this to make it fit the specs for that assignment, but decided I would share this version here. If any readers out there have some links to pictures and information of libraries who have transformed, please share in the comments area.

Recently one of our athletic booster club members, Ed Overstreet, made a video showcasing the school from high above. I thought it worthy of sharing in this post.

Tour of Dorman from Ed Overstreet on Vimeo.



Picture Attributions:

Each and every picture and drawing used in this post are mine created under the “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic” Creative Commons License. 

Video Attribution:
Overstreet, Ed. (July 21, 2017). Tour of Dorman. Retrieved July, 25, 2017 from https://vimeo.com/226491185.


Over the last few days I have written about Affiliate Assembly at ALA and my favorite ALA Events. While ALA was a seriously busy conference, we did manage to squeeze a little fun in the after hours that weren’t filled with banquets and other ALA sponsored events. Every time we went somewhere we asked our cab or Uber drivers to share things to see and do, and places to eat. We gave it a good college try that’s for sure. Here is a sampling of some of the ones we enjoyed!

Chicago Cultural Museum

I enjoyed touring the Chicago Cultural Museum, an institution in Chicago. The Cultural Museum was filled with five floors of artifacts and displays. The most unique one showcased a Tiffany Glass domed ceiling. I visited the museum with two Affiliate Assembly pals from California, Jane Lofton and Katie Williams. I learned that the building was originally stocked with 8,000 books gifted by English donors after the Great Chicago Fire, making it the city’s first public library. It wasn’t until nearly 100 years later, in 1991, that it became the Chicago Cultural Center. We went specifically to see the Tiffany Glass Dome.

Checkout Katie W., Jane L., and myself getting a selfie with the Tiffany Glassed Dome. Made with Canva

Palmer Hotel Lobby Bar

Jane, Katie and I went on to visit the Palmer House Hotel’s Lobby Bar next, on recommendation of Katie’s relatives who work in the area.  Several ALA events were held in some of the Palmer spaces. I learned this place is touted as the home of the brownie. Check out the  gold peacock doors!  In my research (you knew I had to) I found out that the Peacock Doors pay homage to House of Peacock, Chicago’s first incorporated business from 1837. House of Peacock was a Palmer House retail establishment known for fine jewelry and luxury goods like fine china, silver and gold. The arched ceiling was really special too. 

A few of our shared pictures from the Palmer House Bar – Made with Canva

Chicago Crime Tour

I walked so much after my first day, I had blisters on my feet, causing me to ditch the cute sandals in favor of comfy shoes after that. So I missed our AASL Region 4 Affiliate Assembly outing, which was a Chicago Crime Tour! My SCASL colleagues reported that I missed a lot of fun. The following pictures were on Region 4 Chair Misti Jenkins’ Twitter here and here. After the Bus Tour, they went to have Chicago deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s. (Confession, this was the deal breaker for me in my decision to skip it. Sore feet and, ick, deep dish pizza! I decided to rest my feet back at the hotel, eating a sandwich from a neighboring deli instead.)

Pictures captured by the AASL Region 4 Gang – Made with Canva


In  other exciting news, SCASL President Cindy Symonds and colleague Katie High scored tickets to the broadway show Hamilton, which was in town and very close to the ALA venues. We were all rather jealous! Worse, I haven’t seen the first picture of their fun. 

Brittanica Event

All of Region 4 was invited to an evening out over at the Brittanica Corporate Office. Gladys Brown of Brittanica (and friend of SCASL) certainly showed us a good time! There was a tour and everything. The building is a classic, and it was featured on our boat tour the next night. Here is a shot of the building that I took from the boat tour.

My photo of the Brittanica Corporate Offices from the boat tour.


We left the Brittanica event early because we made reservations at Ditka’s. Of course we had to try it. It came highly recommended several times, and I shared that David Jakes years ago at a Science Leadership Academy Conference I attended raved about the Pot Roast Nacho’s. It didn’t take too much convincing for our party to make reservations. We were not disappointed.

Our visit to Ditka’s – Made with Canva

Favorite Meal in Chicago

We had some really awesome meals while in Chicago, but I suffered greatly from sticker-shock. I was dumbfounded by the cost of food and drinks! I so wish I had a photo from the Brittanica gig, as that was the most ridiculously good food I had, possibly even the best. But for me personally, a breakfast person, I loved the small little diner we found called Eggy’s. It was certainly off the beaten trail, and one had to be determined to find it, but Eggy’s did not disappoint. It serves both breakfast and lunch, and will not break the bank, and shocking most of all, they had GRITS!

Eggy’s Breakfast – Made with Canva

Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

At the encouragement of my friend, Heather Loy, we signed up for the twilight Chicago Architecture Boat Tour. While it was a fascinating tour along the river, and we even had to stop one time for a drawbridge lifting, it was freezing cold. These southern gals were ill prepared for the cool temps that dropped to the upper 50s by dark that evening. Factor in a stiff breeze off the water, sandals and only light weight jackets, and you can imagine how cold we were. No matter though, it was the best after conference event I participated in! The SCASL entourage and the CASL friends who joined us had an absolute blast. I heard on the news late that night that those cool temps were unseasonable for Chicago this time of the year.

Made with Canva

Time to say Good Bye Chicago

We bid a final good bye to Chicago by eating at yet another local’s recommendation. The cheese fries were to die for! Heather T had the highly prized chocolate cake shake. While Portillo’s is a chain, it was certainly new to us, and best, the food and fare was very reasonably priced. Based on the really long lines, we could tell it is a favorite.


Next ALA Annual

Next summer your SCASL cohort travels to New Orleans for the ALA Annual Conference. I’d better start saving now as my per diem did not go very far on Chicago food. I imagine that will be the same in New Orleans!

Picture Attributions: All the photos in this post are mine with the exception of the two Twitter photos which have links to the original posts.  Many of them were made using Canva. I have not yet taken the time to organize my photos, but if you’d like to scroll through the album, here is the link.

We are still wrapping our head around SCASL’s recent Chicago Trip to ALA. As we reflected at the airport waiting for our flight home, we began listing the wonderful events directly from the conference that we participated in.  I’ve already shared our Affiliate Assembly events, so I’ll focus this post on sessions and the exhibit hall. The following are events your SCASL friends were involved in as either a speaker or attendee.

Karen Gavigan & Heather Moorefield-Lang both led multiple sessions at this conference, making all of SCASL, the University of South Carolina, and all of South Carolina PROUD. Karen presented two sessions:

  • Transforming Learning in K-12 Libraries through Inclusionary Best Practices
  • Telling Their Stories Through Graphic Novels – Views from behind the Fence

Heather Moorefield-Lang presented twice as well. She is outgoing chair for the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, soon to be assuming the role of AASL Region Four Director. Her two sessions were as follows:

  • Exploring AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning
    This session was the big reveal of the 2017  AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, and there were MANY tweets and retweets, Facebook postings and more sharing the newly curated list! It always draws a big crowd! It followed the AASL Best Apps 2017 Reveal Session.
  • MakerSpaces: The View from Here
    This session also draws a lot of fans. Many are still clamoring for makerspace information.


Sarah Jessica Parker, ALA President’s Program

The ALA President’s Program featured Sarah Jessica Parker who glowed when she spoke of libraries in her life as a child, and how she has made sure it is a part of her own children’s life. No trip is taken without a book!  Many lucked out at ALA, getting an autographed copy of No One is Coming to Save Us after hearing SJP and Author Stephanie Powell Watts talk of the book in this session.

Hillary Clinton, Closing Keynote

ALA did not announce until way late that Hillary Clinton would be our closing keynote, and there were all kinds of rules about filing in, no saving seats, bags had to be checked, etc.  I’m super excited we didn’t miss it. Jennifer Tazerouti and her sister Jackie were some of the first people in, so they had really close seats. (See picture) My group (myself, Heather Thore, and Cindy Symonds) strolled in with less than thirty minutes to go, and found seats near the back. Breakfast was more important to us than a front row seat. It was a great, short speech! Favorite Hillary quote: “You [librarians] have to be on the front lines to defend truth, reason, evidence and fact.” I was hoping to get a arc of her book, It Takes a Village, or minimum a promise of it’s in the mail from ALA!, but sadly that did not happen.

Picture belongs to Jennifer Tazerouti


My picture from the far, far back of the room (cropped so it appears I’m closer.)

Watch the full speech here.


Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Awards Banquet

Some of my SCASL friends had a remarkable evening enjoying the the 2017 Newberry-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet. I’m too cheap to pay for the ticketed event, but ever since my Min-EE-so-ta friend Sally Mays introduced me to free gallery seating that opens around 8, this has been a must attend event for me. Funny that when I usually get there I get to see and speak to a lot of friends, and this year that included John Schumacher,  recent SCASL Conference Author Jason Reynolds, SCASL Past Presidents Jennifer Tazerouti and Ida Thompson, SCASL member Michael Giller, SLJ’s Rocco Staino, and twitter friend Sarah Kelly Johns. You never know who you will bump into! When I can find it I’ll post link to the recorded speeches.  I did manage to nab a program, artwork by Caldecott Winner Javaka Steptoe!


Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast

Our very own SCASL Past Presidents Jennifer Tazerouti and Ida Thompson attended this event, and the word on the street around ALA was that there wasn’t a dry eye in the room; each and every awardee that spoke choked up the audience.

Jennifer Tazerout’s photo shows SCASL Past Presdient Ida Thompson posing with R. Gregory Christie, 2017 CSK Honor Book illustrator of Congo is Not a Square.


Odyssey Awards

I think a lot of folks skip this because it’s listed like a breakout session, and posts that it is 2.5 hours. Thanks to Heather Loy several years ago (ALA in Anaheim) I was introduced to this annual ALA event. The session is actually part session with speakers and part celebratory cocktail reception, sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association. In the middle there is an opportunity for attendees to grab winning audiocopies of the winners and honor books. Hearing the story of how Anna and the Swallow Man came to be produced and packaged; hearing from the author Gavriel Savit, and especially hearing the audiobook narrator Allan Corduner marvel us with a melodic and endearing reading made this such a special session. Attendees were showered with gifts, from the CD sampler of the winners and honor books, to AudioBook sponsored earbuds WITH a keychain zip purse, to your choice of one of the actual audiobooks! Bonus, the audiobook keychain held a coupon for three free audiobooks. SCORE! (Sorry I blurred out the code!)

This shows a collage of Cathy Jo Nelson’s pictures of the free gifts given out at the Odyssey Awards Reception/Session. Collage made using Canva.


Opening Keynote

Sadly I missed the opening keynote due to a snafu with my room, and I had to return to change my room location before my roommate Heather T. arrived later that evening. Maybe our SCASL President Cindy Symonds will share her takeaways with everyone. At least I had heard the speaker before, and her books and buttons were snapped up at the conference in a hurry!

Exhibit Hall

ALA describes it as follows:

With more than 900 exhibiting organizations, multiple pavilions and stages featuring the hottest authors, and numerous related fun events, the exhibit floor is an integral part of your learning, professional development, and networking. The Exhibit Hall offers you the opportunity to explore and discuss with expert vendors the breadth and depth of new and favorite library products, services, books, online services, tools, and technologies.

I can honestly see why some come only for the exhibit hall! I met so many people standing in line for books, and fell in love with several of the vendors (4Imprint I will be a customer very soon!!) It was amazing and I still don’t think I saw everything despite visiting many times over the four days it was open! I loved all five stages and the energy and enthusiasm felt in every line a stood in. So many things to see, so many authors to sign books, and so much to wish I could afford!

I did stumble across this youtube that recaps #ALAAC17 really well!

Final Thoughts

I’ve been to ALA four times in recent years, and never have I paid for any extra events. I’ll be attending next year, and I hope to purchase the Coretta Scott King Breakfast Ticket next year. I have to go see for myself since many tell me every year how good it is. I am also once again going to make sure my flights are made so that I do not miss the closing keynotes. Each time it seems ALA one ups themselves with their opening and closing keynotes. Since I can, I will make sure I am there for both.  In the next few days, I’ll share my #ALAAC17 extra curricular activities!

I’m fresh back from the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, and am exhausted, filled to the brim with learning, and weighted down once again with quite a bit of exhibit hall swag! The American Association of School Librarians is a division of the American Library Association, and SCASL, if you did not know, is a founding member of the American Association of School Librarians Affiliate Assembly. In accordance with our SCASL bylaws, we send our SCASL leadership, two voting delegates and a “delegate in training,” to the ALA Annual Conference each year. This year it was SCASL President Cindy Symonds, President-elect Cathy Jo Nelson (me), and the incoming President Elect, Heather Thore to the conference.


AASL Affiliate Assembly

AASL Affiliate Assembly logo

Used with permission http://www.ala.org/aasl/about/affils/promo

What is it? It’s made up of state and regional organizations that are currently affiliated with AASL, and as of today there are nine regions. Regional activities are coordinated by a Regional Representative and each region is represented on the AASL Board of Directors by a Regional Director. It is made up of two voting delegates per state or regional organization recognized as affiliated with AASL. South Carolina is a part of Region 4. It is exciting right now to be a part of this, as Dr. Heather Moorefield-Lang of the University of South Carolina recently ran for and was elected to be our Region 4 Director in the recent ALA Elections. Region Four includes state organization from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.

Pictures by CJN; Created using Canva

Affiliate Assembly Meetings at ALA 

Screenshot from my phone showing the Affiliate Assembly events at 2017 ALA Annual Conference

At the annual conference there are three events held at ALA Annual Conference specifically for AASL’s Affiliate Assembly. The first one, the AASL Affiliate Assembly Leadership Summit, takes place somewhat as  a pre-conference training event, followed by two sessions, Affiliate Assembly I that takes place that same day later in the evening, and then  Affiliate Assembly II on a different day. Traditionally they use the same day/time format each year, respectively, and all members are expected to attend Meetings I and II. I may be mistaken, but I believe the meetings are open for observation for non delegate attendees.

  • AASL Affiliate Assembly Leadership Summit – The First Meeting
    The Affiliate Assembly Leadership Conference is a four hour leadership training, and it is geared primarily toward the new Affiliate Assembly Members, who are provided an Affiliate Assembly Leadership handbook and are introduced to the AASL Affiliate Assembly governing body and its members and AASL Staff, who each take time to speak to the group. Many returning Affiliate Assembly delegates attend this one each year, as hearing from and interacting with the leadership team never gets old, and often one can learn just as much attending again. In this year’s Summit, AASL Leadership spoke on initiatives affecting or impacting school library programming, including ESSA and the School Librarian, Librarians Transform (Public Awareness Office campaign), the upcoming AASL Conference, locating and accessing leadership tools from AASL, and how to get involved. There were many teasers shared about the library standards slated for reveal at the  November AASL Conference, and affiliates were encouraged to offer a pre-sale of these new AASL Standards for School Librarians, as well as sign up for the Pre-Conference invitation only session to introduce them in Phoenix. Last, members were encouraged to share library success stories for potential printing in AASL’s Blog, Knowledge Quest. 
  • AASL Affiliate Meeting I
    In this two hour meeting all the delegates come together, and the meeting is run like a board meeting, using Robert’s Rules and reading the minutes for the last meeting (from ALA Midwinter.) The group is given a refresher on using the communication avenue (ALA Connect) as needed, and then the business of Affiliate Assembly is addressed. In this meeting we spent time reviewing the approved concerns and commendations submitted by the entire Affiliate Assembly. Concerns and Commendations are solicited earlier in the year and submitted to the Chair. The Affiliate Assembly Board reads and approves these for review by the Affiliate Assembly. Each region is charged with reading over them and discussing as a group, asking questions and getting clarifying information. This is done in preparation for the third meeting.
  • Affiliate Assembly II
    This four hour meeting is also run as a traditional board meeting, but the task at hand for this one is to vote on commendations and concerns. There are two voting members per organization, and the SCASL members voting were SCASL President Cindy Symonds and SCASL President Elect Cathy Jo Nelson(me). Items voted successfully are sent on the the governing board for review and action.

LEFT: From Florida-Region 3 Elizabeth Zdrodowsk’s Twitterfeed https://twitter.com/ezdrodowski/status/878982961105969152; RIGHT: From AASL’s Twitterfeed https://twitter.com/aasl/status/879009692504248321  Made using Canva.

SCASL Can Celebrate!

Good News from our interactions at ALA/AASL Affiliate Assembly includes that Cathy Jo Nelson was elected to assume the role of Region 4 Chairperson for the next Affiliate Assembly Fiscal Year. Current Misti Jenkins is rolling off when her term as President of the Kentucky Association of School Librarians ends. We had one of our commendations approved, which commend the Columbia Fireflies Baseball Team Reading Program. SCASL is bragged on at Affiliate Assembly every year for bringing into the meetings the incoming president elect who has yet to assume office. The purpose of bringing this non-voting member to Affiliate Assembly Meetings (who for us this year is Heather Thore, incoming president-elect for SCASL) is to provide mentorship in preparation for his or her active participation at the next Affiliate Assembly Meeting.


Up Next

I hope I have not misrepresented anything from conference thus far, but if I have, please set me straight in the comments. My next post will share specifics that SCASL Leadership enjoyed or learned at this conference.

Older Posts »