Friday, June 15, 2012

ASLA & AETC debrief

I just spent three days in Birmingham, or its outskirts -- Mountain Brook (for ASLA), Trussville (for AETC), and Inverness (to sleep). I was joined by eight other librarians from our district, which was an unprecedented turn-out for our group.

AASL President-elect Susan Ballard gave the ASLA keynote, and I stayed after for her session on positioning yourself and your program in the best possible light. She mentioned a continuum for collaboration that she used with each of her teachers, which completely inspired me to think about my own faculty in those terms. And I loved hearing Susan's voice, it transported me back to college in New Hampshire. Next, I went to a fascinating session on copyright law in the digital age, delivered by an attorney husband pressed into service. I think it's always good for librarians to get together to discuss copyright concerns. He did a good job of emphasizing Educational Fair Use permissions rather than being overly restrictive about possible infringement. Most of the audience had no idea that restaurants had to pay royalties when they aired television. We had a visit from the State Superintendent at lunch, and,  as with all conferences, the best part was the conversations with colleagues.

AETC was on the Hewitt-Trussvile campus, and both it and the Mountain Brook facilities make me realize how truly resource-poor my own system happens to be. I have come to grips with the fact that we will never have an auditorium, for example, or the state-of-the-art projection and audio systems in every classroom as in Trussville, which was a showplace the likes of which I had never seen. I left feeling both repelled and attracted by the opulence of it all. It reminded me of a visit to a city high school campus for a school concert, where parents and children alike were exclaiming So many stalls! Paper towels! Soap!

You don't have soap at your school? My husband asked when I told him about the oohing and ahhing. Well, the student bathrooms certainly tend not to. And the hand-dryers are not the super-efficient kind. But I actually think the physical plant is pretty sparkly considering the 1300 often slovenly children there everyday.


I write that to say that I find it all the more remarkable I am able to soldier on. Carolyn Starkey and I were given the 2012 Carrie R. Robinson award for Outstanding School Library Media Program, and Carolyn also took home the Ann Marie Pipkin award for technology innovation, which I got last year.

AETC was, as always, really well-coordinated by our state Department of Education Technology Initiatives. It is really energizing to see how many interesting things are going on around the state. Tuesday we went to the auditorium for the Marbury awards, then had Alan November for a keynote. He is always fascinating to hear, and I was thrilled that so many librarians from my district (five!) were there. My concurrent session on webtools was in the first set -- will post a complete version after I expand it for NAETC next week.

I always think it's a good strategy to choose sessions based on the presenter, and I pretty much stuck to sessions led by people I knew and liked. Most of the rooms were full to overflowing. I went to Carolyn Starkey's resource-rich session on the Common Core, then went early to snag a seat for a webtools one from Melissa Mann, an incredible elementary school special education teacher from my district. I ended the day with Leslie Fisher's iOS support group, which had me downloading new apps like crazy. I'm loving Calendars (which beautifully renders and makes fully workable GCal on iOS),

I started Thursday with Amanda Dykes' Google Docs presentation, which was delightfully pithy and informative. then I went to hear Patrick Crispen on social networking tools -- he was especially funny about Klout, before I had to skip a session to dial into a YALSA incoming chair conference call, I was able to pop into Nikki Robertson's crazy full Pinterest session for a little. I'm still not sure it's for me, but it's catnip to so many people, I have to respect it.

So now I've got lots to get together before NAETC and ALA next week, and some books I'm dying to read and also some things to figure out. Today I am meeting a former student for a girly lunch, and then tomorrow is museum-going, my absolute favorite thing to do. And I had entirely too much fun with the women from my district. I feel our librarian powers increasing.

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