#sljsummit 2014

School Library Journal (along with a number of publishers) hosts a Leadership Summit each year for librarians, teachers, and others who care about libraries. I went to my first Summit last year in Austin, Texas and LOVED it! I learned SO MUCH and met many of my “library heroes” (folks whose blogs I follow, people I feel I know from Twitter, etc.), so when this year’s Summit was announced, I knew I had to go.

This year, the Summit was in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I left South Carolina on Friday morning and got to Saint Paul in time to visit the Kerlan Children’s Literature Research Collection at the University of Minnesota (thank you, Lerner!). This tour was so cool! Not only did we get to hear about how the collection got started (Kerlan seems like an interesting man!), but we got to tour the caverns, where everything is kept…10 floors UNDER ground. It was cold and a bit claustrophobic, but totally worth it!

Afterwards, there was an opening reception…which was really my signal to find some sushi and head to my room!

Saturday and Sunday was the actual Summit. On Saturday, we heard from the (AWESOME) Superintendent of Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina and a group of their librarians about how they are implementing their 1:1 devices with the help of their librarians. LOVED IT and am excited that they are so close to me. I hope to be able to visit and really learn more about what they do, since our plan is to be 1:1 by next school year. There was also a vendor panel on Saturday, where we were able to talk about what we need in terms of digital resources and literature for our patrons. The day wrapped up with a really cool Author Panel. We got to hear how Loree Griffin Burns, Joyce Sidman, and Elizabeth Rusch come up with their ideas, do research, and write. On Sunday, I could not stay the entire time, because I needed to head to the airport, but I was there long enough to hear some really cool “Fast Learning Sessions.” My favorite was Andy Plemmons and his session about Student Book Budgets. So easy and so smart! Basically, you get a group of kids together, find out what they want to read, have them survey other kids, give them a budget, and allow them to pick the books. I have already put together a small group of 5th graders and we meet for the first time this week. I’m excited about this, because I’ve noticed (just like Andy) that I have a number of kids (especially in the upper grade levels) who come in, but don’t check out. I want to know why they aren’t checking out! Maybe we don’t have books they want??? I’m hoping that this group will help me with that.

Next year’s Summit will be in Seattle, Washington. I hope to go…I’ve never been to Seattle before! If you are looking for a way to recharge what you do in your library, head to this Summit sometime…you won’t regret it!

VBF

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About Valerie Byrd Fort

I live in South Carolina. I am passionate about libraries, books, and reading. I am also a mom. This is my blog about those things.
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