Conferences, conferences. Every professional has the opportunity to attend conferences for professional development. Conferences are often run by industry groups or organizations. As teacher librarians, we are encouraged to become involved in various library-related associations (see 4 C Blog “Top 10 reasons to join a professional organization” to understand why). Encouragement for me has initially come from professors in my Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program through San Jose State University. Thank you, professors. If you’re lucky, you have administrators that encourage you to take part in library-related associations. I, myself, am a proud member of several of these. First is the American Library Association (ALA), the big guns, along with two ALA divisions, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). I am also a member of the California School Libary Association (CSLA). I have attended ALA and CSLA conferences, and will be attending the AASL conference this fall in Arizona. Yes, I know. Sounds awesome.
I’m really not trying to brag, here. In talking with other teacher librarians, I’ve found that most are part of 3-5 associations, and many of them even more.
Now, in my first post, if you read it, I talked about librarians wearing lots of different hats? Well, one of the biggest hats we wear is the hat that I call, very unoriginally, “Tech go-to.” We are that person at our sites. As Steven Abram noted in his recent January 2017 Internet@Schools article titled, “What’s in the pipeline? Teacher librarians as STEAM vents,” “The next phase of libraries will expand our role in schools and our communities into lending 3D printers, 3D scanners, drones, games, IoT devices, artificial intelligence and augmented reality tools, robots, robotics, and the full range of digital and other tools needed for successful learning.” So yeah, better get up on all that. As a quick side note, Abram quotes the 2016 Thomas Frey Futurist Speaker article, “‘122 Things’ you will be able to do in the library of the future that you can’t do today,” which is a great read.
See, inasmuch as the library associations mentioned heretofore help us connect, and actually do a good job in helping us keep up with technology, it’s wise to spread out and form professional attachments to groups that FOCUS on tech. To that end, I became a member of Computer Using Educators (CUE), the Silicon Valley offshoot (SVCUE), and the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE). With CUE, I get out of the library box and into seeing how subject-area educators are using new applications. ISTE pushes global awareness, and has developed up-to-date international student and teacher technology standards that echo the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner.
It’s hard to pick and choose which professional conferences you want to attend, if you’re lucky to even have that choice. When I look over my year, I try to spread things out a bit, attending 1 library-associated conference and 1 tech conference. I have experienced good and mediocre conferences. The greatest takeaway at EVERY conference is network building. Yes, you learn about trends and technology too. But if learned anything, it’s the acquaintances and friendships you strike up, because they will enrich you over and over again.
I’m not going to ISTE this year because it coincides with a much-needed family vacation. Maybe I’ll go next year when it’s in Chicago.
Why should you care? Well, if you’re interested in teacher librarianship, and you want to stay connected through attendance at conferences, maybe this post will pique your interest in the professional associations I listed above, but that’s not my main point. My hope is that you, dear fellow teacher librarian, in your attempt to perch the many hats you wear atop your head AT THE SAME TIME, can read this little post and either say to yourself, “She’s such a lightweight!” or “Aha! I’ve found someone that’s just as involved as me.” If you’re one of the former, I take one of my many hats off to you. If you’re one of the latter, cheers!
Abram, S. (2017, January). What’s in the pipeline? Teacher librarians as STEAM vents. Internet@Schools, 24(1), 8-10. Retrieved from http://www.internetatschools.com/Articles/Column/The-Pipeline/THE-PIPELINE-Whats-in-the-Pipeline-Teacher-Librarians-as-STEAM-Vents-116124.aspx
Frey, Thomas. (2016, October 26). “122 Things” you will be able to do in the library of the future that you can’t do today. [Web log]. Futurist Speaker. Retrieved from http://www.futuristspeaker.com/business-trends/122-things-you-will-be-able-to-do-in-the-library-of-the-future-that-you-cant-do-today/
McClellan, J. (2015, November 5). Top 10 reasons to join a professional association. [Web log]. 4CDesignworks. Retrieved from http://blog.cccctech.com/top-10-reasons-to-join-a-professional-organization/