American Association of School Librarians Conference
Louisville, KT – November 2019
Due to the generosity of the CLRC’s professional development grant, I was able to travel to Louisville, Kentucky in mid November, 2019 to attend the Biennial Conference of the American Association of School Librarians. If not for these grants, which covered my travel expenses, I would not have been able to make the trip to Louisville.
In early 2019, my colleague, Jessica Regitano, and I were notified that we had been selected as presenters at this prestigious conference. In fact, we were the only presenters from Central New York to be selected. We delivered our presentation on the Saturday morning of the conference, which was entitled, Girls’ STEAM with a Twist: Incorporating Social Activism.
Our presentation focused on how school librarians can create STEAM programming that features a partnership with an associated area nonprofit. At the end of the program, the students’ STEAM-based creations are featured at a celebration that benefits the area nonprofit. The real-world component and authentic audience makes our program exciting and meaningful for all those involved. Thus far, we have partnered with Ophelia’s Place (with a camp focus on body positivity) and Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment, or RISE (with a camp focus on relationships with refugees in the Syracuse area), and in 2020 we will be partnering with Helping Hounds (with a camp focus on animal rescue). See more information at gemssummercamp.com.
Our session was very well attended and we were able to make many positive connections with other school librarians and publishers. We were even asked if we would consider franchising our programming!
We also attended many other sessions throughout the two full conference days. Of particular note were sessions dedicated to developing podcast programming, how school libraries can support the idealogies of the #metoo movement, and high school collaborations with community organizations. In addition, Jessica and I were able to attend the Thursday evening opening keynote and vendor exhibits where we met acclaimed YA author, Alan Gratz.
We also had the opportunity to do some area sightseeing around Louisville, including the historic district, where we saw beautiful older homes and neighborhoods, places downtown, and of course, a distillery tour.
Thank you for this tremendous opportunity! I am already implementing a new podcasting unit with one of my colleagues in the English department and another unit is in the works with a U.S. History teacher.
Library Media Specialist, Baldwinsville Schools
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