Today I try to recover from I suppose jet lag, as the 3 hour time difference slapped me in the face Friday around 7PM, sending me to bed by 8Pm (which technically was 11PM for my body) and then again yesterday, when I returned home from Anaheim around 11:30, but was bright eyed until 2am, once again my body’s time clock then on westcoast time. I’m still paying for it a bit today. GLAD it’s summer! ALA 2012 at Anaheim, CA is in the books.
Amost didnt happen…
I really did not think everything would line up as nicely as it did, allowing me the opportunity to attend ALA12 in Anaheim, CA June 22-26, but align it did. I managed to secure a decent flight with only one layover for $370!! With friends there ready to offer a bed with a pillow, I was set to go. One snafu, my flight there had to turn back before take off, causing me to miss my connecting flight, so Charlotte Douglas Airpoirt arranged for a direct flight. SCORE!!
SC Recognition and a book frenzy!
Upon arriving, I went to get registered and attend the opening keynote followed by the grand opening of the exhibit hall. South Carolina’s Public Library Association got recognized for their work in getting full funding back when our governor tried to chop their budget, so it was nice to have our great state’s organization recognized. Talk about a FRENZY though when they opened the exhibit hall. There was flowing drinks and free books everywhere. I’d said I would not fill my bags with the freebies, but it was quite infectious, and before I knew it I had two bags filled. I gave them ALL to SCASL’s incoming President-Elect for her to use as door prizes at SCASL’s next conference or any other good use, so she mailed these home among her goodies, and she had PLENTY too. I refrained from getting anymore. I couldn’t afford to mail all that home nor did I have luggage space. I did “carry-on” for pete’s sake.
AASLBW12 – our session hashtag
Saturday I spent the morning in my own panel session on AASL’s Best Website’s for Teaching and Learning. We had a full house no lie! We gave out party favors & noise makers to help us celebrate AASL’s naming of 100 sites with this fourth year’s set of top twenty-five. Our session ended with quite a bang, cheering, confetti, and streamers galore. Very festive, and I knew it would be difficult to top it. I captured a bit on my phone’s camera. Afterwards I got wrapped up networking with so many friends that before I knew it lunchtime came.
SLJ Sponsored Informal Discussion – Digital Literacy at ALA
I had been asked and promised to participate in an informal discussion facilitatd by School Library Journal in SLJ’s Technology editor Kathy Ishizuka’s room at 2PM Saturday. In attendance were Kathy Ishizuka, serving as hostess and facilitator, along with SLJ Editor-in-chief, Rebecca T. Miller. The discussion was recorded with permission, and was quite frank at times. We tiptoed around the topic of there being a disconnect between school librarian members of ALA and ALA as a whole, but hammered out that some of the problems stem from a lack of understanding of media literacy and whose job it is to teach it. We agreed many entities act as if literacy is “their” issue, and even agreed as society becomes more connected, literacies of all kinds are contributing more and more to not only the achievement gap, but also the digital gap in today’s world. It was pointed out that now organizations like Best Buy and Home Depot have stepped into the ring, organizations that are for profit. IMHO it’s like the tail is wagging the dog, and school librarians are having a difficult time staking out their piece of the pie. Factor in the segment of librarians who are not up to speed, the segment of administrators who still don’t know what they should be seeing in today’s libraries, and site based management, and you get a formula for disaster that begins impacting not just outdated librarians, but those of us who consider ourselves up to speed and on board with 21st century learning. I’ve said before my greatest fear in today’s school is that despite my very best efforts to be on top of new literacies and 21st century learning, those librarians who are satisfied to be stagnant may one day very soon cost me my job. The real question that needs to be addressed is how to educate our government and public as to what the school librarian brings (or should bring) to the table. But those of us on the front lines have our radars up on any group or organization, inside and outside of school (aka Digital Literacy Corp, which by the way is a concept and not a reality at this point) that seems to be pushing to exclude us from our goals and missions as school librarians. The recent “snafu” over the FCC and Digital Literacy Corp is a direct result of this elevated awareness of our jobs in schools being chipped at from a multitude of directions. I won’t give anymore away, as I’m pretty sure our School Library Journal is doing a story based on our conversations in this exclusive group, but I will share who was present. I’m looking forward to reading SLJ’s spin on this discussion. Present were:
- Wendy Stephenson, School Librarian, Buckman High School, New Market, AL
- myself, School Librarian, Dorman High School, Roebuck, SC
- Francey Harris, School Librarian, University Laboratory High School, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL
- Sara Kelly Johns, Library Media Specialist at Lake Placid CSD, AASL Division Councilor, ALA Council at ALA, AASL Executive Board at ALA
- Renee Hobbs, Media Literacy expert, Founder of Temple University’s Media Education Lab and professor at Temple University
- Bobbi Newman – Speaker, Writer, Trainer at Librarian by Day, Councilor-at-Large, OITP Advisory Committee, Digital Literacy Task Force, IG Chair at American Library Association
- Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director off ALA offices
- Lynne E. Bradley, Director of the Office of Government Relations of the ALA
Capstone is a tough act to follow!
Saturday evening my friend and reason I ultimately decided to attend ALA, Diane (formerly Chen) Kelly scored us dinner with our Capstone reps, Eric Fitzgerald and David Burrows. Just a few weeks before, I didn’t think I could come because getting a room at that late date was going to be a challenge, but she saved me! Diane worked out a “business dinner date” with Eric and Dave, and we ultimately landed at Mr. Stox in Anaheim. Oh my I cannot even adequately describe how wonderful the fod was, so I’ll just let my visitors use the link to process how wonderful this restaurant was. We all had a combo we asked them to custom create of Lobster Rosetti and Steak, and it was divine!! I loved the company, the discussion, and getting to know our exhibitors outside the Capstone booth! Guys, YOU ROCK!! I hope to attend the SLJ Summit in Philly this fall and hang out with y’all again.
Friends reunited and Free books…again
Sunday brought on more time in the exhibit hall. We had a schedule of authors and where they were signing, and so made it a mission to find them at booths, the pop-top stage, or the Authors Live Stage. We caught Neal Shusterman and got an autographed book. It was funny to meet up with friends–April Dawkins showed me her calendar for the day, and like us, she was seeking out authors. I also saw Michael Giller (from the Governor’s School of Arts/Greenville), newly hired Meredith Keeter (from North Myrtle Beach High School/Horry County), and Ida Thompson, media director for Richland County School District. I hung out mostly with Heather Loy, SCASL president-elect, Kathy Sutusky, SCASL President, and Anne Lemieux, SCASL’s incoming president-elect. Heather and I kept our third media muskateer, Fran Bullington, who wasn’t there involved in all things ALA from her home via phone texts and pictures.
Sunday evening we decided to eat dinner at the Bubba Gump restaurant, and invited MEMO president (and my former 2010 ALA roommate) Sally Mays and her husband to join us. We had a delightful evening comparing SCASL to MEMO. It’s always interesting to see how organizations that are similar compare. We enjoyed her quick wit and allowed her to practice her AASL award acceptance speech, even getting our waiter at the hotel to assess it since she was determined to accept in “Espanol” since she teaches at a Spanish immersion school.
“Aaaaaaayyyyyye — it’s the Fonz”
Monday, I attended sessions, including one on teens and online privacy, and then book talking for teens. It was in the booktalking session that I met face to face a member of my PLN, Nancy Keane of Booktalks Quick and Simple. How ironic I run into her at a “booktalking” session, as she was just an attendee! Our group went to the Author Speaker series session featuring Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, coauthors of the Hank Zipzer books. Heather wanted an autographed book but had a conflict in here schedule, so Anne and I went down to get a book signed. It was the second book in the new Ghost Buddy series, so I forked out the “deal” $3.00 to get her the first book as well, since all we heard from Heather was she did not want any of the free books if they were sequels. She was pleased as punch at our surprise offering of both a freebie and a purchased autographed book by “the Fonz.” We finished by attending ALA’s Battledecks–truly no words can describe this fun event! Let’s just say ten slides, four minutes, and volunteers trying to drive for cohesion. For dinner that evening we went down the street to Buca Di Peppo’s and actually timed it so that we were invited to sit in the kitchen, supposedly the best seat in the house! I have been to this restaurant before in Pineville, NC and Philly, but my dinner mates had their first experience at a Buca’s. It was divine.
Memories in pictures
Of course there is much more to process from ALA. I’m including all my photos, as well as the ones I came across from School Library Journal. They are below, so if you do not see them from a reader, be sure to pop out and cruise through the pictures. I love seeing conferences through the shots of other photographers. And finally, Heather Loy sent our SCASL members daily updates of what was happening in ALA. These will also be posted over at SCASL.net soon, so be sure, especially if you are an SC librarian, to visit and read through how your SCASL leadership spent their time at ALA12 in Anaheim.