Conferences, Professional organizations

Thoughts from #ALA12 – working sessions

Many people assume that when you say “I’m going to Anaheim” what you mean is “I’m going to Disneyland”.  And many people assume that when you say that you’re going to a conference, you’re going to a wild convention that should stay in Vegas.   For some librarianspeople, that’s true. Not for me: I haven’t been back to Disneyland since ’71 (and I’ve never been to Disneyworld), and this time around my conference included so many committee meetings that I didn’t get to too many learning sessions.

The first meeting I had was with Linda Braun, guest editor of the Fall issue of YALS. We were meeting because I’m the incoming chair of the Editorial Advisory Board and we needed to plot and plan ways to increase visibility for the journal and the YALS website.  The editorial calendar is pretty much set, so now it’s up to me and my EAB team to start looking for possible blog post writers and ways to drive traffic to the site.  The other major part of our job is to help determine which articles belong in the journal, and which might be better elsewhere.

Then there was my first meeting as part of the LIRT Transitions to College committee. I’d attended their session during last year’s conference and thought that it would be a good committee to work with – turns out, I’m probably the first school librarian they’ve had on the committee. Despite not being quorate, we identified a few goals for the upcoming year:

  • increase visibility and attract members/interest from the youth services, PLA and ARCL communities
  • create a program that continues the theme of “missing voices” (possibly a panel of students from high school, college and graduate school) – even though we don’t need to have a program in 2013, it would be nice to do so.

A friend mentioned that a local colleague is doing just the type of outreach I’d hope every high school librarian is doing, reaching out to local academic librarians and making sure your program matches their first year needs.  The more difficult thing is to get the school to support that initiative and require solid research projects throughout the curriculum and across grades.

Of course, working with the other members of the Excellence in Non-Fiction award committee took many hours.  The conversations were good, with some deeply held feelings about the books on both the “loved it” and “hated it” sides.  Of course I’ll be writing more about this later.

I also went to the AASL All-Committee meeting to meet with my Independent School Section friends.  We’re a tight group, but admit that there’s a real problem in that many of us do not get funding to attend conferences.  Several past chairs have dropped off the radar because once their term was over, their funding ended and their valuable voice gets lost.  One of the things we explored was having more of a virtual presence: beefing up the website, creating a blog and holding virtual meetings.  We’ll see how far it goes, but it’s a problem all over ALA (the most overheard quote? “I’m so glad I got funding to come”).

Next posts: the learning and the fun.  Of course, they’re one and the same but I’ll try to separate them!

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