American Association of School Librarians Conference

Louisville, Kentucky – November 2019

New York Library Association sticker on a cutout of a megaphone.

This past weekend, I had the great privilege of attending the 2019 Biennial Conference of American Association of School Librarians, a division of ALA. This conference, which was held in Louisville, Kentucky, from Thursday, November 14, 2019, through Saturday, November 16, 2019, brought thousands of K-12 librarians, exhibitors, and authors together for a time of learning and networking. Although I was able to attend this conference in 2015 in Columbus, Ohio, and had a wonderful experience, this year brought even more excitement, as my colleague, Leslie Cartier, and I presented a concurrent session on Saturday entitled, “Girls’ STEAM with a Twist: Incorporating Social Activism.”

The conference opened with a parade of librarians from across the country and an inspiring keynote delivered by Ellen Oh, author and founder of We Need Diverse Books. Following the keynote, the exhibit hall opened, and I was able to network with multiple exhibitors over the next two hours. I am excited to report that I was given multiple advanced reader copies, and cannot wait to share them with my students! A highlight of this time was meeting author Alan Gratz and having him sign a copy of his latest book, Allies. Later that night, I attended a dinner hosted by Roger Rosen and Miriam Gilbert of Rosen Publishing. It was a wonderful evening and allowed me to network with librarians and school library system directors from across New York State who were attending the conference.

Panelists during a conference session.

On Friday and Saturday, I attended multiple conference sessions. Some of the topics that were covered in the sessions included the following: design thinking, media literacy, evidence-based practice, community partnerships, using literature to discuss tough topics, and the #MeToo movement. Attending many of these sessions inspired me to become an even better librarian!

Perhaps one of the biggest take-aways from the conference was observations of the way in which the conference is run. I am co-chair for the 2020 Annual NYLA-SSL Conference, and seeing the way that the AASL conference was organized has given me new ideas that I’ve already shared with my co-chairs.

Lastly, I believe that an important aspect of travel to other cities and areas of the country is learning more about them. During the evenings and breaks between the conference sessions, I was able to do a bit of exploring, including visiting Old Louisville, the Main Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, the Lousiville Slugger Factory and Museum, and the Muhammad Ali Museum.

I am very appreciative of CLRC’s willingness to support this wonderful trip!

Jessica Regitano

Library Media Specialist, Chittenango Central Schools

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