28 Graduate Students Attend State Conference
Click on the above image for a larger photo!
Twenty-eight graduate students from the School Library Media program attended the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) Conference in Hampton, Virginia on November 10, 2012. The conference theme was "Librarians as Leaders". They were joined by their Longwood faculty, Dr. Audrey Church, Ms. Frances Reeve, and Mrs. Karla Collins.
Attending these sessions gives librarians ideas from other librarians from all over the state. It is a place where we can come together and share successes and ideas that are working in our own libraries.
I had the privilege of listening and learning from some of the best and brightest librarians, authors, and leaders in my future professional field. I attended 15 different sessions that provided me with a wealth of information that I cannot wait to share with my fellow associates and students.
I really cannot express the importance of being involved in such a meaningful, professional organization such as this. I have been attending the conferences since 2000, and each one just gets better and better. I always leave the conference feeling inspired with wonderful new ideas and willing to learn and adapt to the challenges my students will face as they become the best critical thinkers of the 21st Century.
I especially enjoyed the session on "self-censorship" which addressed the inadvertent censorship of materials in some school libraries. Examples include using a restricted shelf for questionable material, not buying books of controversy, or limiting student choices to a range of reading levels. Students have a constitutional right to full access of materials within the library, and it is our duty to uphold this intellectual freedom. After attending this session I am more aware of student right and librarian responsibility, and I will do my best to promote these values in my own library.
Carrie Ellen Campbell
The highlight of this year's conference for me though was the opportunity to present a concurrent session on self-censorship by school librarians. I presented at two sessions and spoke to approximately 30 of my peers. I am incredibly passionate about advocating for and protecting freedom of expression and intellectual freedom. The reception was overwhelming! Not only did these people want to hear what I had to say, they also shared my feelings and passion, and, they asked me for advice! The most overwhelming outcome, though, was that several people actually requested that I present again on the same topic next year! I happily agreed that I would submit a proposal for next year's conference in Williamsburg....so in the meantime, I'm collecting data, evidence, and stories to share.
I found the keynote address an inspiration in both my professional and personal life. To be a leader takes many forms and dispositions and the three speakers gave candid, varied accounts of their paths to leadership.
The conference provides us with fresh ideas, new technologies, and opportunities to collaborate and share with peers over that course of a few days. I attended a fabulous session presented by Nancy Hally (Longwood 2008 School Library Media program graduate) from Henrico County. She showed us how her students created book reviews using a flip camera. She converted the reviews them to QR codes and put the QR codes on a name plate in the front of the book that the student reviewed...this is a fabulous idea that I will definitely implement in an elementary school setting!
This was my first professional conference and I felt it was of great value to me for my future career as a school librarian. The network of supports and resources there are most valuable.
The theme of this year’s conference was "Librarians as Leaders" and, it provided a wealth of opportunities for networking and professional development. I attended workshops that provided many ideas to enhance my instruction this year. I met authors, learned more about their writing process, and expanded my knowledge of their works, so that I may better assist students in their reading choices. I participated in sessions that addressed new standards regarding teacher evaluation…This was an incredible opportunity for me to share ideas with many librarians from around the state.
The conference was a phenomenal experience! My only regret is that I merely attended one day. That will NOT be the case next year. I have already marked my calendar for next year’s conference, which will be held in Williamsburg from November 7-9, 2013, and am looking forward to it!
Last year I attended the conference as part of a class I was taking at the time. It was like Disneyland for librarians. I had never been in the same room with so many other people who were all so passionate about the same things that I was! I learned so much and met so many interesting people.
This year, I was at the tail end of my student teaching when I attended the conference. Although I didn’t have a job, I did have months of teaching experience under my belt. Whereas last year I reveled in the experience of being at the conference, this year I was able to glean practical information from the sessions that I attended. (And I admit, I still reveled in the experience of being with hundreds of other school librarians!)
It was an extremely informative and invigorating experience! I enjoyed being able to connect with fellow educators from across the commonwealth as we discussed important issues relating to learning and literacy….Listening to author Gordon Korman was a truly a highlight of the conference! Several of our fifth graders are enjoying his chapter books and I know they are eagerly awaiting my report back.
The conference offered many opportunities to expand the scope of our knowledge and to make excellent network connections with other librarians from across the state. At the conference, there were national speakers, that included leaders from our profession and authors that we and our students admire.
"Top 10 Topics and Trends" was a very valuable session presented by Dr. Audrey Church, former VEMA president and coordinator of the School Library Media program at Longwood University. Dr. Church focused her report on one very important topic in Virginia school libraries: performance-based teacher evaluation. We were given numerous sources of information for the seven Virginia standards and evaluation criteria including documentation and rubrics for formative assessment, SMART goals, student growth impact studies, and VDOE teacher training.
Prior to the conference, I had seen postings on LM_NET about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so I was thrilled to see NaNoWriMo as the subject of a concurrent session at VAASL. I work with a fourth grade student who struggles in many subject areas, but has an incredible imagination. Each week, she creates a story to go with a leveled reader wordless picture book. Sometimes I cannot write fast enough to capture all of her ideas. With the student version of NaNoWriMo, she could set her own goal for how many words to write. At the end of the program, students can receive three paperback copies of their novel for the cost of shipping (approximately six dollars). I would love to see the look on her face when her published book arrives!
I learned about other technology resources and tools to use in my future library classroom. These tools include internet sites and programs to assist in finding and evaluating resources; software programs to enhance our social and educational aspect of our book clubs and reading groups, and free audio books from publishers to assist in reading and learning differentiation.
I was excited to have the opportunity to attend the Virginia Association of School Librarians Conference for a second time. After spending my first year as a librarian, I knew there was much I could learn. All the sessions I attended proved to be informative, helpful, and/or enlightening as I move forward in bringing my library into the 21st century and serving our 21st century learners.
One of the highlights of the conference is always the Longwood school library media program alumni gathering. I so appreciate the energy and love these folks have for libraries and education. They do a wonderful job of making everyone feel welcome and the door prizes are great, too!
The last session which I think is most valuable to our school was about bullying. I was given lessons to use when teaching about bullying. It allows the students to really see from all perspectives whether they are the bully, the one being bullied, or a bystander. There are some great children’s books out there that will work well for our students. I plan to start implementing these lessons at the beginning of each school year when we really focus on bullying.
I really enjoyed this conference and came back to my school so refreshed. The energy at this conference was wonderful and uplifting. I attended several different types of sessions, but getting new ideas is always my favorite part. I can't wait to get back and share things with my colleagues. I believe it is important to be a member of an organization to stay connected and I gain so much from each one that I attend.
One thing that I have already shared with teachers at my school is Live Binders. Livebinders.com is exactly what it claims to be, basically a three ring binder on the web. It allows anyone to take all of the resources they have accumulated such as websites, PDF's and other things and organize them by topic. I have created several binders already and shared them with my coworkers, and have scheduled a session to show others in the building how to create their own.
…We have the resources and knowledge [we need as librarians] because of the conferences we attend and the information we receive from them. The VAASL conference was one of the most beneficial resource conferences I have and will definitely be a priority in the coming years.
I have a list of new book blogs that I am adding to the library wiki I created this past summer for reading promotion and self-selection. I will also use these blogs to model "blogging"and digital citizenship for my own classroom as my ninth grade students begin our own "Blogging About Books" site
I listened to two authors presentations. The first, Kelley Starling Lyons, talked about how to bring black history alive to our students. And the second was Gordon Korman, who talked about how to reach more boys and get them to be lifelong readers. Both sessions were invaluable.
One of the resources mentioned [at a session] that I will use both as a current classroom teacher and as a future librarian is Virginia Career VIEW. This is a free website that would give students a fun and informative way to explore possible careers.
The first general session of the VAASL Conference made an impact on me because the speakers discussed how they became involved with VAASL. Their stories made me realize how important it is for me as a future librarian to be involved with a professional organization.
I am excited to share the new ideas I learned at the conference with the teachers and to use them in the library. I am especially excited to put the techniques of using social networking to create better access for the students. In class, we discussed the sessions we attended so I was able to benefit from the other students going, also.
My favorite session would have to be hands down "The Best $20 I Ever Spent". The presenter, Kim McCallister (Longwood 2011 School Library Media program graduate) is a new librarian who uses QR codes and a webcam for students to check out what's new in the library. Students love using this resource to watch book trailers [and] her check out numbers are skyrocketing!