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! 

1 comment:

  1. Nice to read about this community. they are working hard and also towards the right path.