This past week we had our annual state library conference in Columbia, SC. SCASL: Impact @ Your Library‘s primary focus this year, under the leadership and excellent planning by Anne Lemieux, SCASL’s president-elect. The conference focused on how we as librarians can impact our learning community and prove it.
The conference began for me with a ride down to Columbia, SC Tuesday, March 5, 2013 right after school. This year I could only attend two of the three day event. Since I’ve had so many professional days prior to this IMHO “must attend” event, I either had to take my last personal day to attend all three days, or opt for just two. I attended Wedneday and Thursday, saving Friday for my upcoming trip to the TLA conference in April. THAT Friday is my last personal day. Decisions, decisions. So hard to choose sometimes. Because I decided so late to actually get a hotel (thank you Priceline for finding me a great hotel in the Harbeson area for $50 a night!!) I decided I’d go on down Tuesday afternoon. The plan was to head to the Convention Center and help set up. Ha! I arrived just in time to be kicked out at closing time. No great loss though. I went to dinner with Heather Loy, our SCASL current president. It was great to catch up with her, as she has been a close friend for a number of years. We ate dinner at a Copper River Grille, and they seated us right in front of a fireplace.
Wednesday – Day One at Conference
I began my morning by hooking up with my friend Jennifer Tazerouti, fellow board member and “AuntieLibrarian.” As part of the SCASL Board, we had to set up displays representing each of our committees. So we scurried around getting all our gear inside and set up. We found out that Kevin Merritt (an honorary conference husband is what I like to call him) was celebrating a birthday, so Jennifer and I went to a gourmet cupcake shop (Cupcake Down South) to get him a birthday cupcake. (Of course this was conference planner and SCASL pres-elect Anne Lemiuex’s idea, so I must give proper attribution here.) Anyway a group of SCASL Board members and conference planning committee presented him with a candlelit gourmet birthday cupcake along with a serenade of “Happy Birthday to You!” I had a chocolate mint cupcake that was divine!!
Kevin Merrit – Your PD Credit Tracking Expert
Who is Kevin Merrit, you might ask. Kevin is a technology specialist who works for Greenville County Schools, but each year helps SCASL out with its tracking system for conference attendance. He programs the scanners, dessiminates our tracking cards, makes sure each session has a volunteer to tack attendance, and once conference is done, downloads the data so that each attendee can receive a personalized record of the sessions attended at conference each year. A group of us always arrange dinner out with him. This is why we like to call him our conference “husband.” It’s wonderful that SCASL has devoted people to help us each year. Kevin is a dream come true. When we return to school, early next week we will receive in our email the session attendance record to turn in for documentation and recertification credits. Kevin, I hope you had a wonderful working birthday!!
Board of Directors Working Lunch
Midday Tuesday we had our annual board meeting at conference which was a working lunch. Heather, as president, presented us with a gift of thanks that will come in SO VERY HANDY at future conference-like events. It’s a badge holder pouch that can clip onto the belt, the bag, or be worn around the neck. It can hold a few personal items too (like a cell phone!) Score! It’s a great gift that will be used for a long time (at least for me.)
Preconference Session With Keith Curry Lance
Next I attended the Pre-conference session presented by Keith Curry Lance. It was slam full of data and statistics, and it along with the online discussions the group had engaged in left me thinking I am not doing enough to show I impact my school. I need to make more connections numberwise, and make sure my administrators know what I contribute to the numbers they count on! So much to process from this session. Inbox me if you want to get access to his slides and such. Very thought provoking. I know my money was well spent to attend this, as we learned at conference that South Carolina (through SCASL and hopefully some other funding sources) are in talks with Dr. Lance to do a South Carolina Study of Library Impact.
The Grand Opening
At the opening of the Grand Opening of the Exhibit Hall, we committee chairs and board members hung out near our displays, trying to encourage visitors to become more actively involved in SCASL through committee volunteer efforts. I was excited to have several sign up for Regional Network. I am ecstatic to report I was able to fill a vacancy for the Regional Network. Now I am GLAD I made a display and talked it up to visitors.
Near closing for the Grand Opening, we had an adventurous crowd engage in a SCASL version of the Harlem Shake. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this video. Special thanks to Valerie Byrd-Fort (aka Library Goddess) for organizing and leading it, and Marty Fort (hubby) for recording it. It’s a Youtube sensation!!
Wednesday’s Dinner with Friends
Wednesday evening I had dinner with many friends, including Steven Reed (and wife), Heather Loy, Fran Bullington, Amy Conkleton, Ellen Bunch, Jennifer Tazerouti, and more. We had a larger group that included Tamara Cox, Kim Hearne, Monique German, and more, but our group was too large to be seated together. We ate at the Blue Marlin down in the Vista area (walking distance from the convention center.) I had the yummiest Shrimp and Grits ever! It wouldn’t have mattered if we had gathered around a hotdog stand, the fun comes from gathering with friends and like-minded, job-alike educators. We had a blast. The funniest part of our evening was when one shared about some potential censorship happening in their library, all over ads that have caused a stir from the Sports Illustrated magazine. They actually appear in several magazines, but have taken notice in this library. After looking them up on our phones, we laughed until we cried. I won’t post any pictures here, but you have to go look at them yourself. OMG, how do we as school librarians squash censorship, yet protect our innocent students! Anyway, some of us laughed until we cried and caused quite a commotion at the restaurant. Can you say librarians gone wild?
Thursday Begins – The Eye-Opener Session
For my eye-opener session at 8AM, I attended Michael Giller’s session “You want to stick that where?” Michael really knows how to grab the attention of the audience through titles–did that one grab your attention? His session focused on the many databases his school offers to students, and promoting them to us. I tweeted out how much I love to hear students and teachers say how they use them, and Michael provide the perfect balance of this in his session. I must confess I left with an immediate desire to talk to a rep at ArtStor. With Common Core coming, this will be a nice addition to our digital collection AND I know the art department will be ecstatic.
The Daring Librarian “Replacement”
Jennifer Tazerouti performed beautifully to the tune of Comic Life, GoAnimate, and Edmodo as she amazingly pulled together a last minute session to replace Gwyneth Jones’ early morning session. Gwyneth was slated, but unfortunately for SCASL, was snowed in by the latest snow storm to slam the east. Jennifer talked us through the cool applications, even pulling directly from Gwyneth’s flickr pictures to show us samples of the resources. With such a lively red head leading a session, I’m not sure those who popped in late realized we didn’t have Gwyneth. Jennifer was AWESOME. I’m thankful she volunteered to fill in for Gwyneth. I have to share a COMIX that Jennifer says I inspired. You see all the time I am sending messages via our SCASL networks about links, websites, and more they might try out. I also promote the TL Cafe, even though lately I myself have been too busy to virtually attend (so glad they are archived!!) Jennifer showed this in her session, telling everyone I was in the third caption–that was me letting everyone know about a TL Cafe that was featuring Gwyneth and Comic Life! LOL. I love it, Jennifer. Click the graphic to see and read it. I am in square three!! Just like me!
First General Session
Keith Curry Lance led us in his keynote through the various library studies. How awesome is it that SC is endeavoring to engage him in a Library Impact Study in our state? Stay tuned to SCASL for details. Fingers crossed that it comes to be.
SCASL Annual Business Meeting at Conference
Several things were addressed in the business meeting, and I hope I don’t misrepresent anything. Memorable were the motions that carried unanimously:
- SCASL has decided to waive membership fees for students who must join to be on the book award committees.
- We also changed some terminology in the bylaws; most memorable is that the Executive Board for SCASL will now be known as the Board of Directors.
Second General Session
Since Gwyneth Jones didn’t make it to SCASL (and I hope we are already in talks about next year!!) we were lucky enough to already have on site Dr Linda Karges-Bone. She gracefully stepped right in when asked, even though she hadn’t come prepared to lead a keynote. NONE of us left disappointed. Her research and books were well received, and having her lead a surprise keynote got many excited to have her at our author signing later after the genreal session. SCORE. SCASL really lucked out with Dr. Bone there to help us out. Be sure to read about her using the link above, and if you want to see her content on Edmodo, the group code to join is amt12g. In her folder on the Edmodo group, she has many resources shared there. These would be awesome to show any administrator or to use to lead a staff development, but it would probably be BEST just to invite her to your school or district. She was awesome and very thought inspiring. Here’s a link to a much better summary of the keynotes.
Other Fun at Conference
After the Second General Session, attendees were given time to go to lunch (on own or at the Awards Luncheon), explore the exhibit hall, head over to the Author signing area, and attend the University of South Carolina’s Alumni Tea. Surprise visitor’s included Cocky and the retired Dr. Dan Barron, who led the keynote at the Awards Luncheon (which I didn’t attend.) Attendees were delighted with the visit.
My Final SCASL Session
My final SCASL session was my own, a meeting for the SCASL Regional Network. I shared what I would like to call “The State of the State Address” for the Regional Network. It’s been a bumpy ride this year as I took the reins of the Regional Network, but overall I am pleased with our accomplishments. Here is the slide set I used in our meeting, which was very productive.
A final get-together
I did go to dinner with so many friends before leaving. We all went to Long Horn’s, another short walk from the convention center. Best, Long Horn’s WAS able to pull enough tables for us to sit together. I sat within good talking distance of Heather Loy, Fran Bullington, Kelly Knight, Jen Chesney, and visiting authors Heather Birch and Sophie Jordan. It is so enjoyable to interact with author’s as they talk writer’s craft. Also at our dinner, friends who joined us included Susan Meyers, Michael Giller, Tamara Cox, Kim Hearne, Carla Nash, and Kevin Merritt. (I think I’ve included everyone.) We had a blast, and I’m sure our waitress did too.
At that point I drove back to Spartanburg so I could reunite with my much missed family (at least the ones at home: hubby, two cats, and a dog) and prepare my body and soul for a normal day of school Friday. I was sort of dreading returning to work Friday when my heart wanted to be back in Columbia, but thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Edmodo, and good friends, I felt like I was able to enjoy it some, even from my little spot in the upstate (at Dorman). Best, during that before school time when we have around 120 students in the library, I had a few ask me where I’d been. So there. That tells me I was missed.
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