Category Archives: Conferences

Georgia Children’s Book Award Ideas

James Cambell at Lee Street Elementary in Jonesboro is an awesome Media Specialist with a difficult situation who has come up with a great solution that does a whole lot of things on many different levels.

He is without a clerk or any regular volunteers and has to not only do Specials classes, but has many classes coming through.  He decided he wanted to promote the GA Picture Book nominees but his voice gave out when he tried to read them over and over again.  Also, that can get a bit mind-numbing as I’m sure you’re aware.

So he spends a couple of weeks over the summer with a pile of picture books, a scanner and some software and makes his own Reading Rainbow-style videos of all of the nominees.  Sometimes he even gets other people to read the books.  Examples can be seen on his website here.  These videos engage the kids, save his voice, and allow him some breathing room to check books in and sorted before continuing with a great lesson.

He takes the time to write to each nominee and ask them or their publisher for permission to do this.  Many times this is the first indication the authors and illustrators have that they’ve been nominated!  He’s only posted the ones on his website that he’s gotten explicit permission for, but plays the rest in his media center.  As you can see he also goes to the trouble of adding all kinds of great links for more information surrounding each nominee.  It’s such a great idea that the official GA Children’s Book Award website has a link to Mr. Cambell on their Teacher Resources page.

One more short bit about the GCBA this year.  On Friday afternoon I wasn’t really into any of the breakout sessions and thought I might check out the vendors while it was quiet.  I crossed the autographing area and all the authors and illustrators were still there with no line!  I ran to the bookstore, stocked up and went back to have some one-on-one time at the autographing table.  I had my fancy new smartphone and thought about photos, but was inspired to try shooting some video.  I asked each one if they would mind saying a greeting for my morning announcements show.  They were all delighted to do it!  Carole Boston Weatherford busted out with a poem!  Mike Wimmer said some inspirational things about books.  I also got Meghan McCarthy, Jody Feldman and Barbara O’Connor.  They all said, “Good morning Partee Elementary, I’m _______ and I’m the author (or illustrator of) __________…” and then said whatever they felt like.  It wasn’t the highest quality, obviously.  I didn’t have a tripod and there was some background chatter, but the kids and teachers loved it when I showed a different one each morning for the following week.  Now I will say, if you try to steal this idea, that’s fine but do make sure there’s no line behind you when you ask an author to do this.  You would not make any friends holding up a line trying to shoot a video.

I think I might contact the conference organizers and urge them to set up a camera on a tripod in a corner with a backdrop and get them to do this same thing each year.  They could say “to the students of Georgia” and the GCBA could post the videos on their website for all the media specialists to download and use in their morning shows.  Wouldn’t that be cool?
Here’s a link to Barbara O’Connor’s greeting for an example.  What were some of your conference stories?

Jim Randolph
Partee Elementary
Snellville, GA

Information Literacy in Savannah-Time for Proposals!

Here’s your chance to hear Joyce Valenza deliver our keynote address AND spend time in beautiful Savannah in September learning and sharing your ideas about information literacy!

Call for Proposals for the
9th Annual Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy

September 21 – 22, 2012
Coastal Georgia Center
Savannah, Georgia

Proposal deadline: April 15, 2012

For complete conference details and access to the online submission form, please access the website at:

Join us in Savannah for this annual conference jointly hosted by
Georgia Southern University’s:

Zach S. Henderson Library
Department of Writing and Linguistics, College of Liberals Arts & Social Sciences
College of Education
And the Continuing Education Center

See you there!

Judi Repman

2012 Georgia Conference on Children’s Literature


March 23 & 24th will be an exciting time in Athens, GA.  The 43rd annual Conference on Children’s Literature will be taking place at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education and this year promises some top-notch authors and illustrators.  They include:

  • Barbara O’Connor:  the author of TheFantastic Secret of Owen Jester, a 2011-2012 Georgia Children’s Book Award nominee. She is also the recipient of multiple Parents’ Choice Awards forGreetings from Nowhere, How to Steal a Dog, Moonpie and Ivy, and Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia.
  • Mike Wimmer:   the illustrator ofFlight: The Journey of Charldes Lindbergh, winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction,Homerun: The Story of Babe Ruth, andOne Giant Leap (all by Robert Burliegh). He is also the illustrator of All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan and Theodore by Frank Keating.
  • Carole Boston Weatherford:  the author of Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. She is also the author of Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins, Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane, andBecoming Billie Holiday. Her book Dear Mr. Rosenwald was on the Notable Books for a Global Society list.
  • Jody Feldman: the author of The Gollywhopper Games, winner of the 2010-2011 Georgia Children’s Book Award. She is also the author of The Seventh Level.
  • Meghan McCarthy: the author and illustrator of Aliens Are Coming! The True Account of the 1938 War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast, winner of the 2010-2011 Georgia Children’s Picture Storybook Award and an ALA Notable Book. Her other books include: Pop! The Invention of Bubblegum, Astronaut Handbook, and Strong Man: The Story of Charles Atlas.

Registration for this conference has remained an affordable $125 for several years.  Your registration includes 5 general sessions by authors and illustrators, 2 catered lunches where you will feel well-taken care of and have a chance to chat with educators that share your interests, 3 blocks of concurrent sessions presented by fellow educators, multiple opportunities to get author/illustrator autographs, and the state finals of the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl.  Early bird registration ends March 5th and the fee will increase to $145.

I invite you to attend my concurrent session called “Techno Poetry”, where I will share the many ways I’m using technology to allow students to craft and publish a variety of poems as well as connecting their poetry to a global audience.

More info can be found on the conference website.  Hope to see you there.

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA

Capstone Press Fall 2011 Conference Sponsorship

Capstone announced the 5 winners of their Fall 2011 Conference Sponsorship promotion. Libraries with direct purchases of 1K+ were automatically entered into the promotion. Winners received paid registration for the 2012 GA Children’s Lit Conference in Athens GA. as well as one night stay and a group dinner at The Last Resort in downtown Athens.


Contact Jim Boon( for details of the Spring 2012 promotions!

If you missed AASL 2011…there’s still time to learn and take action!

I just had the great fortune of traveling to Minneapolis to the attend the American Association of School Librarians National Conference.  I’ve made it a professional goal for myself to attend this conference that occurs every two years because it’s an opportunity to network with librarians from around the world.  The aspect of the conference that I love the most is that there are so many ways to get involved with the conference as a whole whether you are attending in person or learning from afar.

Georgia Librarians @AASL Minneapolis/photo source: theunquietlibrarian

As the conference comes to a close, it’s not too late for you to connect with the conversations that were started in Minneapolis.  In fact, I think it’s necessary that you find at least one avenue to not only connect with the conversations from Minneapolis, but also use them to take action within your own practice, your school culture, and the education community as a whole.  It’s not an excuse to say, “My school doesn’t have funding to travel to Minneapolis”.  From the comfort of your own home, you can learn, reflect, and contribute well after the close of the conference.

The main message that I took away from AASL is that we are in a time of opportunity and transition.  Now more than ever, we must all take on a leadership role not only within our schools, but also within the education community and beyond.  We must be innovative, creative, and daring listeners, teachers, and collaborators.  We must harness the resources that are available in the world and work with our students and teachers to use these evolving resources to both consume information and create new content.  We must be transparent about the work that we do and digitally document our practice to not only support one another as librarians, but also to send a message to the world about the importance of our role as teachers in our profession.

What might you do to connect to the conversations at AASL:

1.  Download the new ebook School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, and What’s Yet to Come? which was crowdsourced by more than 50 authors.  I started reading the book on my flight to Minneapolis, and every essay spoke to issues that I am currently wrestling with in my own practice and in my district.  I love how each essay is short and concise and that I don’t learn who the author is until after I finish reading the text.  This book can be a springboard for current and future conversations about libraries.  However, it should be more than a springboard for conversation; it should be an invitation to take action and move forward with the transforming nature of our work.  Here are just a few of the quotes that spoke to me.

School Libraries: What's now? What's next? What's yet to Come?

“New technologies do not create or fill some new need; they allow us all to express needs that have existed for generations.” ~Sara Kelley-Mudie

“The only constant is change.  More than anything else, perhaps, that change is exemplified in the future librarian herself: a highly skilled teacher who is an instructional chameleon.” ~Jennifer LaGarde

“As what it means to educate the 21st-century learner evolves, school librarians have the opportunity to claim our place as instructional leaders in this new educational landscape.  Today’s students cannot afford to wait for the ‘future librarian’.” ~Jennifer LaGarde

“I am a storyteller, information curator, database expert, extended essay supervisor, book group coordinator, wiki specialist, transliteracy coach, interdisciplinary-information literacy collaborator, approaches-to-learning leader, guided inquiry mentor, curriculum team member, open-access advocate, one-to-one and mobile device promoter, reading champion, and accreditation team member.” ~Beth Guorley

“We cannot simply support the curriculum anymore.  We cannot wait for people to see our worth.  Yes, part of our job is to support the staff and students, but we can also teach them and improve student learning directly.” ~Heather Hersey

“There is a good chance that the school librarian or library media specialist, as one of the school’s technology leaders, has the most organic understanding of how content and technology are most effectively co-mingled to the benefit of the student and to best help the teacher.” ~Evan St. Lifer

“What we cannot afford is to let students forget to love to read.  What we cannot afford is a generation of people who forgot how to think, to imagine, to care.” ~Jesse Karp

“Libraries should not shrink as physical collections shrink; they should grow as opportunities for collaboration and cooperative learning grow.” ~Len Bryan

“As we look to the future of school libraries, I see us as a run-on sentence of sorts.  People outside librarianship are often so anxious to box us in, to define us.  They want to apply their grammar to the library – a place that is, at its heart, artful, authentic, and inquiring.” ~Elizabeth Friese

2.  Join the twitter conversation by search for the hashtag #aasl11 and reading through the extensive documentation and reflection of hundreds of people attending in person and from afar.  Contribute to the conversation by adding your own tweets and responding to tweets.  Be sure to tag your new tweets with #aasl11 as well.

3.  View the wealth of slidecasts, wikis, and videos from the Learning Commons.  Sessions on topics such as the bookstore model, play in the library, inviting participation in the library, the image of the school librarian, iPad apps, advocacy, reimagining libraries, and more can be found on the pages of this wiki.

Andy Plemmons presenting on participation in the library/photo source: theunquietlibrarian

4.  Register for the virtual conference.  For as low as $99 for AASL members, you can get access to the recordings of the opening and closing sessions as well as 8 concurrent sessions.  You’ll also have access to the handouts and slidecasts uploaded by presenters of other sessions.  Some of the archived sessions include Buffy Hamilton’s Libraries as Sponsors of Transliteracy, Doug Johson’s Cloud Computing, a panel on what kinds of books we need in K-12 libraries, and Dr. Violet Harada’s Assessment in the library.

5.  Join the conference Ning.  Get connected with people who attended the conference, continue conversations from before/during/after the conference, and view feeds of tweets and photos from the conference.

In one of the sessions I attended, a leader within ALA stated that she would like to see all librarians being transformative, transparent leaders within the next 3 years.  How will you get connected and take action?

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA