Mar 17th, 2012 by Cathy Jo Nelson
How do I start this reflective piece? I think I will just meander down memory lane and share what I did as well as what stood out.
Preconference with Bob Berkowitz
I went to the Bob Berkowitz pre-conference session, and more than pushing for us librarians to teach information literacy and use the Big6, Bob pushed for us to be fully integrated, teach research with scaffolding, show how we are aligned with common core (quite the buzz word at conference), and use our instructional practice as an advocacy tool in itself. Nice tie in to the conference theme, “Advocacy Starts with You @ the Library.”
SCASL Board Meeting
We had a working lunch after the first precon session as a group (the board.) Heather Loy, pres-elect, gave Kathy Sutusky, current president, an outgoing gift of travel resources. Kathy is officially still at the helm and on duty as president until July 1, but SCASL makes sure at this board meeting, our last official one, to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of the board. Even better, Kathy Sutusky gave each of us as a board member a thank you gift for serving, and it was an AWESOME gold SCASL pin! I love these pins. I usually use pins like this at conferences to keep my tickets stored in my badge secure. I will wear mine with pride. Thanks Kathy!!
First General Session Wed afternoon
I chose to attend Donna Shannon’s (et al, USC profs) session first thing. The entire theme of the conference was related to advocacy, and their session was about finding ways to document your impact in the school setting. My USC friends quoted so many rock star librarians, like Wendy Stephens, Buffy Hamilton, Ross J. Todd, Michelle Luhtala, and more, all very familiar names to me! I love the wiki shared toward the end as well–and plan to make good use of it. http://slmimpact.wikispaces.com/
Grand Opening of the Exhibit Hall
I spent the afternoon setting up my SCASL Committee Exploratorium. The Information Technology Committee works in tandem with the Public Relations Committee (who posts on Facebook, Twitter, the blog, and more among other duties.) Since we both had digital content to share, we set up side by side and put a screen and projector between us to showcase tweets, the Facebook page, and flickr photos from SCASL. Thank you Susan Myers for working with me for the SCASL Committee Exploratorium! I also had an individual exploratorium to set up that shared ideas for using Flickr and showing conference attendees how to share conference photos, tag photos, and help bring our non attendees to the conference virtually through their videos and pics. So I was split up during the showcase, but we had an awesome time.
Wednesday Supper with Good Friends
We had to man the tables in the exploratorium until 7:30PM, so a group of us working this little shindig agreed to go eat dinner together afterwards. We drove over to Outback Steakhouse simply because it was close and the lateness of the hour. If everyone showed up it would be 11 strong. Included were two of our menfolk, Kevin Merritt and Steven Reed, who we affectionately dubbed as our conference husbands last year. So Kevin referred to our arrangement as a “mixed up bi-polygamist sect”–and us “wives” as their harem LOL!! We squeezed the group to a table meant for eight. Included this year: me, Fran Bullington, Heather Loy, Susan Myers, Carla Nash, Steve Reed, Kevin Merritt, Patty Bynum, Marilyn Heath, and Marcia Kalyjian. I’m predicting it now: some combination of this motley crew will regroup for our annual post SCASL Exploratorium “bi-polygamist sect” family get-together every year.
Thursday’s big events for me:
- Attend the morning Donalyn Miller breakout session
- Attend the first general Session and Keynote followed by the SCASL Annual Business Meeting
- Set up the Learning Commons
- Facilitate the Learning Commons form 1PM-5:30 PM
- Go on the Greenville Culinary Tour
Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer and Charter Member of the Nerdy Book Club
There were SO MANY good sessions to choose from for the first concurrent. I chose to attend our afternoon keynote speaker’s session (Donalyn Miller) since I had committed myself to manning the Learning Commons all afternoon, a first for our conference,I would be missing this keynote. Despite that the target audience was elementary and middle school, I found many titles to add to my “to read” list. I left this session KNOWING I would be missing a special treat at the afternoon general session. Next year if we provide a learning commons, I am going to propose that it be “closed” during keynotes. Hindsight is always 20/20.
Time to Prep for SCASL Learning Commons 2012
After leaving the first concurrent session, I had to get the resources I brought for the LC over there and set up. I had two full boxes of things like a projector, every cord and cable known to man, speaker and wireless mic, drop cords, multiple vga cords (mac, pc, ipod, etc) and more. I also had a large portable screen. I had one sign to set up near the entrance. And I still had to tweak my own LC preso which was planned for first thing! During the two months prior to conference we set up a google doc for people to volunteer short 20 minute sessions. The LC was running at all times that the Exhibit Hall was open (as that was where it was located) and so we had many drop in as they were visiting vendor booths. It was a great location, though I was initially skeptical. The only drawback was that we were competing with noise (thank goodness I brought a microphone for presenters to use) and we probably really annoyed those working the SCASL store next door. After setting up the LC, I pulled out my bag lunch (yes, I packed a lunch instead of going out with my friends) and enjoyed a quiet lunch waiting for 1PM which was just around the corner. The LC was IMHO quite successful. There were times when almost every seat was full (we had roughly 8 large round tables with chairs) and then times where there were as few as just two. Some came by merely to recharge, rest, relax with friends, or take advantage of the informal learning available. We even some of the exhibitors would wander over. I’m still processing how to make it better.
SCASL Sponsored Event: Greenville Culinary Tours – “At the Chef’s Table”
After the LC I joined with my “media muskateers” Heather Loy and Fran Bullington to go with a group signed up for a Culinary Walking Tour of Downtown Greenville. I will let the pictures here speak for themselves, because no words can do it justice. FABULOUS. I was texting my husband and oldest son pictures as ate at each place.
The wonderful Culinary Tour Pix don’t do it justice, but here they are!! Special thanks to Local Arrangements Chair SCSL member Patty Bynum for making this a very memorable experience (and conference as a whole!!) Here is a link to the site where you can sign up for the tours. I may be doing it again WITH my family. Yes, it was that good!
Final Day-Gosh Conference flew by!
Friday morning I arrived bright and early to make sure I could snag a photo-op with visiting author Chris Crutcher. His was the first session of the day for me! I was not disappointed. I then had my own two sessions back to back (“The Unwritten Research Paper” and “YouTube, MyTube, Their Tube: Channeling for Learning”) which were very well attended. I was caught off guard by a question from the audience in my second session on YouTube in the classroom. Is it legal to download YouTube videos? I just had to confess and tell them I really did not know, but said I’d hoped what my school was doing would be considered “fair use.” YIKES. I am planning at least one of these two for future conferences, so I guess I’d better research that question so I can answer it knowledgeably.
Book Award Luncheon
Chris Crutcher keynoted the Book Award Luncheon and he was hysterical! His stories about experiences that have shaped him as a writer, from childhood to professional jobs held, all captivated us. It was sad that as I was snapping photos and uploading during all this (yes, I was a multitasking fool sitting their with my phone and my laptop) a story was shared with me from a friend about a book challenge currently happening in Aiken, SC. How ironic that we are listening to probably one of the MOST challenged authors of young adult literature, and I’m reading of yet another book challenge right in our own state. This author has a nominee on our current SCYABA list too. I’m stunned that anyone would have an issue with Ender’s Game, but apparently they do. Sigh.
Overall, it was FANTASTIC Conference. Each year I always wonder how SCASL can continue to raise the bar for providing a venue rich in making connections, networking, sharing, and LEARNING. I want to bring a teacher with me next year. Maybe an administrator too. Wonder if we could get admin to come for at least one day of our conference?
Other favorite photos: