Having the opportunity to spend time taking with peers, learning from them during formal presentations as well as in informal conversations is always wonderful, and the AASL conference certainly provides that opportunity. The focus on school libraries is something of a dual-edged sword, however. Why? Because when you’re in a walled garden you don’t get to see what your non-school-librarian peers are doing. I’ve learned so much from my public and academic library peers that could – and should – be shared with school librarians, but even at “Big ALA” that tends not to happen. Just my thought, obviously, but one we might want to consider going forward.
The Learning Commons had a great unconference focus, but maybe next time we include a tech playground (vendor free) and focus more on those not already presenting? I wish more newbies had the opportunity to go to the LC sessions as they were happening, to increase the conversation and the learning there.
Why weren’t they there? Because for the first time I can remember, each session I attended was full. People sitting on the floor, trailing out the doors full. And from what I’ve heard, this was the rule. So many congratulations to the committee for good session choices!
Minneapolis was also a wonderful venue: very walkable, friendly and warmer than my hometown! I don’t know how walkable Hartford CT will be, but after Charlotte (2009), Minneapolis was a great decision. The lack of need for the buses to and from the Convention Center was so nice and “green” (if only we could get rid of the program books, or make them an “opt in” feature!). And – gasp! – Starbucks wasn’t on every corner. Instead I got to have Caribou Coffee and Dunn Brothers. YAY for local chains!!
Finally, Dorcas sums it up better than I ever could: