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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

Connect with GLMA via Facebook and Twitter

Have you become a fan of GLMA on Facebook or are you following our Twitter stream?  We invite you to connect with GLMA in these spaces for news, web resources, and updates that supplement information here on our blog.    Join us on the social web today!

Librarian Advocacy: Sign the Twitter Petition

If you are someone who is active on Twitter, consider signing the Twitter petition ignited by Lisa Layera of the Washington Moms to help advocate for funding to support certified teacher librarians trained in technology integration, 1:1 computing, and broadband access for American schoolchildren.

Follow GLMA on Twitter

GLMA (glma) on Twitter via kwout

You can now keep up with the latest news from the Georgia Library Media Association on Twitter! If you haven’t added Twitter to your personal learning network, consider tapping into this social network to connect with other school librarians, teachers, and technology specialists!  You may follow GLMA at

Buffy Hamilton

Fall in Love with TweetDeck


OK, I admit it. I’m in love.  The new love of my life is my favorite Twitter app, TweetDeck. When I first got started with Twitter many months ago, I was not even in love with Twitter. I thought it was just a playground for stalkers. 🙂 But after a while I returned and discovered that people were actually using Twitter for more than just to ask people what they had for lunch. They were using it to share information and to expand their personal learning networks. So Twitter and I became pals again. And then I started discovering all the fab Twitter applications that make Twitter even more fun to use and make sharing information even easier. My favorite? TweetDeck! All you have to do is go to the TweetDeck website, download TweetDeck (and simultaneously download Adobe Air) to your desktop, and then you can use it to tweet away. TweetDeck installs an icon on your desktop and your taskbar and notifies you with a pleasant little chirp and a visual notification when you have an incoming tweet. OK, maybe it’s an annoying little chirp, but you know how to turn the sound down, right? TweetDeck splits your tweets into group-specific columns so that you can see, for example, all of your tweets, your replies, and your direct messages separately. Want to respond to a tweet? All you have to do is click on the tweeter’s tiny little head and a “menu” pops up. You can reply to the tweeter, send her a direct message, retweet her tweet (it was brilliant!), or favorite her tweet (it was super-brilliant!). When you’re posting your own tweets, TweetDeck makes it easy to post a link to your own website or blog, or to someone else’s. You just click on the little button at the top that looks like a conversation bubble to post a tweet, and two boxes open. You insert your tweet in one box, and your link in the other. Then hit the button to shorten the URL, and TweetDeck shortens it using snipurl or some other URL shortening service. You can use other buttons to create groups, search for words or phrases within your tweets, or perform other tasks. Even though TweetDeck says it’s for Windows, Mac, and Linux, it works just fine with Firefox.

Ruth Fleet

Creekview High School