I can see why my North North Texan colleague from Castleton Elementary School in New York, Stacey Rattner, loves Texas librarians and their conference. With less than twelve hours left before I head to the airport, I’m glowing with love for my profession from colleagues a time zone away.
The Texas Library Association does it right. They bring everyone together for a positively enriching three-day experience. The learning, my God, the learning! Each session was like choosing a favorite child– it just could not be done. I even wished to attend a few sessions when I was presenting myself. There was certainly some fierce competition but I appreciate the Texas Association of School Librarians for accepting my proposal to present about print and web resources for research. Those in attendance walked away with a booklist of awesome books to kick-start an inquiry-based project, information about encouraging students to question, and mini-lessons to offer as librarians to create a comprehensive research plan in collaboration with teachers. You can check out the materials from my presentation on my website.
When I was not sharing, I was listening in sessions about graphic novels (Texas– I hope you do a cosplay fashion show again! I know I was inspired to add it to our Free Comic Book Day celebration in just a few short weeks), writing historically, GSuite add-ons and apps, and hacking my school library.
Then there was the food. How much better can you get than to have recommendations by Texans? I was not disappointed. I even had a lovely intimate dinner with a publisher and favorite author of mine, Cat Winters, whose new book The Raven’s Tale about a young Edgar Allan Poe was just released.
With so much to see, do, and experience, I know I only scratched the surface. I appreciate the experience and hope to return. Which begs the question, what librarians conference are you attending soon? Haven’t been to one, consider ALA Annual in Washington, D.C. in June or start researching a conference that you’d like to attend. We can’t attend them all and be everywhere, but we can be strategic about our sharing and learning. Yet the first step is always the hardest. My first step was several years ago and my school is better for having me attend conferences because of the networking and ideas that come back with me.
My sincerest hope is that you take the opportunities to ASK to attend, even when you haven’t before, because librarians know how to put on a conference. And certainly I’ve learned that Texas specifically wows.