I'm on the way home from Charlotte, thinking about the series of days that made up the 14th Annual AASL conference. It was one of the best experiences, personal or professional, I’ve ever had.
I eased into things by going for the Wednesday night paddleboat dinner cruise on the Catawba Queen around Lake Norman. Despite the full moon, it was difficult to see much beyond the powerplants ringing that man-made body of water. But the dark night provided an opportunity to talk with local North Carolina librarians as well as some from Connecticut, Arkansas, and Illinois. There was an especially anticipatory air as five of the eight women at our table were attending the conference for the first time.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a current fave among my students, I especially enjoyed a late-afternoon session from a group from the University of Georgia on the role of class in children's literature, The panel touched upon a range of depictions of non-Western cultures, affluence and poverty, and labor issues.
The Ethics in a Web 2.0 World session Saturday morning used table-talk to present a range of scenarios, most based on real life, challenging our understanding of everything from intellectual property to student privacy to censorship involving read/write wrinkles. I also spent some time talking about my own doctoral work on the recursive and reiterative nature of new literacies with other doc. students and faculty.
I feel lucky to have been part of the conference technology subcommittee producing content behind-the-scenes to share the experience with those who has purchased the bThere pass or for those looking for backchannels to connect with like-minded media specialists. I uploaded photos to flickr (mostly the work of my friend Cyndy) and tweeted almost compulsively about the goings-on. For those of you without a track pass, the tagged conference content was aggregated onto another site by Donna Baumbach. 21st century librarians can be clever like that.
Sunday, I headed away from the conference center to swing by the Levine Museum of the New South, currently housing Changing Places, an exhibit on multiculturalism and cross-cultural understanding. It was a really pleasant ending to a stimulating five days full of new and old connections.
AASL will be in Minneapolis in 2011, and I hope that its conference's organizers take a page from this one and remember that learning is always more fun when participatory and inclusive.