"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Library Teachers are Cultivators of Interest and Masters of Masters of Choportunities

Librarians are Cultivators of Interest and Masters of Chopportunity

I recently attended the School Library Journal Leadership Summit. It was an inspiring and energizing experience. It’s hard to believe that the Summit was only three weeks ago. I feel like a lifetime has gone by, or at least a significant part of the school year!  This is partly because the SLJ Summit occurred only three weeks and three days into my school year.  At the time, I kept reminding myself of this fact because I happened to be sitting with friends whose school years had begun way back in early August and were therefore well into their curriculum.  Their conversations were making me anxious, three weeks into school meant that I was still developing community and establishing routines.  This disparity did nothing to impact our experiences at the SLJ Summit.  In my cohort, we were all equally inspired and energized by what we were hearing and seeing. Actively used iPads and smart phones ringed our table.

I started out taking notes the new, old-fashioned way by typing them into a Google Doc.  When I heard something cool or interesting and wanted to Tweet it out, I would switch over to Twitter.  I would snap photographs of slides that would take too long to paraphrase.  I was also trying to read and re-tweet other’s Tweets.  I was on one device, but feeling frenetic. I closed my Google Doc and relied solely on Twitter.  I liked this way of listening and learning much better.  It was crowd sourcing at its best.   I was sitting in a room with 200 other well-equipped, engaged, interested and interesting learners, I did not need to do it all. Case in point, Donna MacDonald created this impressive and comprehensive Storify of the experience.

Inspiration from the conference
The keynote delivered by Annie Murphy Paul set the tone for the conference. After hearing her speak and looking at her Webpage, I am eager to read and learn more. I loved this idea that she espoused:

Librarians are Cultivators of interest and interest allows students to think more clearly understand more deeply remember more accurately.
Questions I want to pursue:
If, interest is a more powerful predictor of future achievement, how can we help to cultivate interest in students? How can we catch and then hold or seize upon students’ interests?
How can we work with students to develop curiosity questions in an area of emerging interest?
Barbara Stripling, ALA President, knows how to get a group of library teachers fired up.  She spoke eloquently and passionately about school librarianship. Below are some of the themes or ideas that resonated with me.

Internet dictates that we are fast and move fast and make quick decisions but we need to slow down and allow for deep learning.
The school library supports social and emotional growth.  It is a collection and a space that supports all learners.
Help foster the attitudes essential for success - self confidence, grit, and perseverance.
Teach the students the skills and give them the space to practice those skills.
Libraries are thinking spaces.
My takeaways from the weekend
Networking gets promoted, but rarely supported.  Having time (albeit a day and a half) to really get to know a few people well and begin to get to know a few more people is a valuable experience.
There are innovative and effective library programs that I never get to hear about.
Tweeps that meet F2F are fast friends and close colleagues.
I am on the right path. I had already written my Professional and Student Goals for the new evaluation system and they are on the exploring questioning strategies and methods. Right on the money with our Keynote.  Cool beans.

I love learning.

I can’t wait until next year’s SLJ Summit!

Want more specifics on the conference?
SLJ Summit Crowd Sourced from Twitter
Check out the hashtag #sljsummit
I took some photos of Austin!
I took a forty-five minute walk before I left for the airport. The Pecan Street Festival was in full swing as were the people!

Read this comprehensive Storify from Donna MacDonald (@dsmacdonald)

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