#SCASL18 Reflection

I think something might be wrong with me – I LOVE going to professional conferences! Especially my state organization’s annual conference. I may be a bit biased (I am a Past President), but the SCASL Annual Conference is always a good one to check out (FYI – 2019 will be in Columbia). The cost is reasonable, the sessions are top-notch, and there is something for everyone. This year, the conference was in Greenville, South Carolina and here is what I enjoyed the most.

Wednesday – Pre-Conference Day

I attended two sessions led by folks from the School of Library & Information Science. In the morning, I learned about online teaching with Dr. Lucy Santos Green. I taught my first online class for SLIS this semester and early on in the semester, I realized that I need all the professional development about online teaching that I can get! I’ve done a lot of online LEARNING, but online TEACHING is a whole other ballgame. The biggest takeaway from this session was the various ways for students to present projects online – I am excited to incorporate these tools next semester. In the afternoon, I went to Dr. David Lankes session, which was an update about SLIS and a brainstorming session about the needs that the library school can offer to practicing school librarians. I WISH I had gotten a picture, but one of the updates was about new hires…including ME! More on that in another post.

On Wednesday afternoon, I participated in the SCASL through the Years panel with several SCASL Past Presidents. Even though attendance for this session was low, I enjoyed learning about the history of the organization and hearing about others’ experiences as President. It is an experience you do not forget (or remember, apparently…we all needed help with dates, themes, and well…everything! Ha!)

Wednesday evening was one of the best things about a professional conference – dinner with friends. I think I learn the most by talking with my library friends at dinners, lunches, in the hallway, etc. Networking is the best part of any conference or gathering of like minded professionals.


I presented Reigniting Your Passion…for Readingcheck out my post with links to slides and other information here. After my session, it was time for the keynote with Dr. Heather Moorfield-Lang. She is just awesome, you guys. Next up was Matt de la Pena talking about his books. I don’t think I have to say that it was amazing, because you know that already. The day wrapped up with another excellent dinner with more library friends.


Last day of conference and probably the day that I was inspired the most. The first session I went to was A Whole Lot of Movin’ and Shakin’ Going on in Middle School with middle school librarians Camellia Harris and Alana Lewis in Charleston County. I learned about some maker activities that they incorporate into their library program. My Amazon Wish List is SO.LONG. You guys, I am not even in a school library at the moment, but you’d think that by looking at my wish list, I have some sort of school based budget. Nope. What I loved about this session was the suggestions for application for maker activities into the classroom. Using a makerspace for students to create projects instead of just coming in and “playing” for half an hour. For example, one librarian shared how she uses Stikbots for students to show what they know about Ancient Greece (which is a project where maybe they would have created a diorama for in the past). There were just so many great ideas shared at this session. LOVED IT.

Next, I headed to Be the Change with Tamara Cox, Betsy Long, Pamela Williams and others who I admire a great deal. This session was all about making sure you look at your students and offer something for EVERYONE. We all know students (teachers, parents) need WINDOWS and MIRRORS in the books they read and the displays they see and this session offered practical tips for making that happen in your school library.

Last, I had to attend at least one Kitty Tripp session and she ended my conference with a great one about #BookSnaps! YAY! What I loved about this session was the idea of integrating other “snaps” into your teaching – #mathsnaps, #sciencesnaps, etc. Also, learning that you do not have to use SnapChat to create a #BookSnap – use whatever! PicCollage, Google Slides – anything where you can insert images and a Bitmoji will work! PS – I am in love with Bitmoji.

And, there you have it. My 2018 SCASL conference experience. Were you there? What was your favorite session? Do you love a good conference?



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.
This entry was posted in Awesome Librarians, Conferences, Learning, Presentations, SCASL. Bookmark the permalink.

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