Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude and the School Library Community

The best part of Thanksgiving, in my mind, is the reminder to think about all I have to be grateful for. And, I have a lot. I am so fortunate: I have a wonderful, loving family, a nice home, and great friends. I'm healthy and am comfortable financially. And, I love my job as a teacher librarian. I came late in my career to this field, and and feel so blessed that I found my passion in it.  I treasure the opportunities my job gives me to work with students and teachers and share my love of reading and information literacy with them. I also love the sense of community that being a member of the school library world has provided me. This posting is dedicated to my gratitude for the school library community.

In just the last month, I have enjoyed several experiences with this community that I am especially grateful about. 

In October, I was so fortunate to be able to attend the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Conference in Minneapolis. I did a short posting about some of what I learned there in my school library blog. I still need to finish going through all the materials I collected, watch videos of some of the sessions I missed, and review videos of some of the great sessions I attended such as Buffy Hamilton's (The Unquiet Librarian) that need a second sitting to truly absorb. In the meantime, I have been working on implementing many of the ideas I learned already. I was so lucky to be able to attend this gathering with many of the best players in our field and learn from their presentations. I believe, though, that it was also just as valuable to visit and network with old and new friends and build community. I got to travel with several great friends from CSLA and enjoy spending time with them. 

Enjoying the Author Brunch with some of my great Calif. Friends at AASL Conference: Marie Slim, Rosemarie Bernier, Kathie Maier, Janice Gilmore-See, and Ellie Goldstein-Erickson
While we had fun socializing together, and had some great adventures, we also simultaneously shared ideas for good practices and worked on plans for strengthening CSLA and our service to the California school library world. I also met in person for the first time with many of the members of my online personal learning network, and thus strengthened my connections with them. 

Marie Slim and I meet Buffy Hamilton (center). Buffy inspired me to attend the AASL Conference when she invited Marie and me to participate in the "Geek Squad."

Meeting PLN friends Tiff Whitehead, Gwyneth Jones, & Joyce Valenza at AASL Conference
Meeting another PLN Friend - Kelly Brannock

Not only do these connections help improve the work I do; they also help to truly make my work as a school librarian feel like the best job and most fun anyone could have!

Just two weeks after AASL, we held CSLA's annual conference in Pasadena November 11-13, and I got a second booster shot of more wonderful ideas to process and use to improve my library program. And, as with the AASL Conference, the opportunities to visit with old and new friends was at least as valuable as the sessions themselves. My only regret during the conference was never having enough time to visit with all the great folks I saw in sessions, at events, and in the halls. It was a true treat to work with my friend Marie Slim on a session about building personal learning networks. Her energy and bubbling personality made the experience of presenting with her so much fun. 

Presenting with Marie Slim at the CSLA Conference
As poster sessions chair, I got to enjoy the company of each of the presenters while they set up their displays. At the Board meeting on Thursday before the conference, I had the bittersweet experience of ending my three year cycle as Southern Region President and the honor of beginning my term as State President Elect. I feel honored to have been entrusted with the Southern Region Presidency, and, as with all I have done as a volunteer for CSLA, I have always gotten so much more back in terms of what I learned professionally than I contributed. I have also made wonderful friendships I cherish. I am more than a little nervous taking on an even bigger commitment as I embark on three years as State President Elect, President, and Past President, but I am confident I will have the support of my friends and colleagues, and that my community of school library friends will grow even more and offer many more valuable experiences and delightful adventures to be grateful for. 

With CSLA Southern Region's Board
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

CSLA Conference and Cyber Sunday

It's conference season, and I promise soon to report about all the great ideas I learned during the AASL Conference in Minneapolis October 27-30 and the Library 2.011 Virtual Conference November 2-3. Right now, though, I'm in major preparation mode for CSLA's annual conference being held in Pasadena next Friday - Sunday (November 11-13). If you live in California, you aren't going to want to miss it. It's not too late to register onsite. Check out the conference website, and especially the conference wiki. Marie Slim is the brain behind the wiki, and welcomes all your participation. And, you don't need to be a member of the school library world to participate in the conference. On Sunday, we are offering the first ever "Cyber Sunday," a full day of engaging sessions by experts in the field of cyber citizenship, online safety, digital literacy, and empowering our 21st Century learners online. This entire event is free and open to parents, teachers, and anyone interested. Here is the invitation I sent to staff members and volunteers at my school this week. Please take it as a personal invitation to you!

Dear Staff/Volunteers,

I would like to extend an invitation to all of you to attend a very special "Cyber Sunday" event being convened next Sunday, November 13, by the California School Library Association (CSLA) at the Pasadena Convention Center from 9:45 AM - 3:15 PM.  As an addition to CSLA's regular annual conference, we are hosting a day of sessions by experts from the field - elected officials, reps from Yahoo, Facebook, the CA Dept. of Education, CA Dept. Office of Privacy Protection, and more - on all aspects of cyber citizenship, online safety, digital literacy, and empowering our 21st Century learners online. This program is being offered free of charge, and intended for educators, parents, government leaders, and any other interested parties. Please consider spending the day at this event, which I am confident will be very informative and rewarding.

Here is a link to the event Invitation.

Here is a link to the program Brochure.

Here is a link to the Cyber Sunday Registration form.

For general information, visit the Calif. School Library Association website at And, please do contact me if you have any questions. I would love to have you attend.


Jane Lofton
Mira Costa Teacher Librarian
Incoming President Elect, Calif. School Library Association