The PA School Librarians Association (PSLA) Annual Conference is one of the highlights of my professional year. I don’t belong to the national library association for my own various reasons, and I much prefer to “think global, act local” as the saying goes.
I’ve been going to PSLA for 8 years now, and I always come away with some interesting observations and at least one idea to that actually gets implemented in my library. Though I’m sad that my implementation rate is so low, I think that’s a reasonable expectation for librarians at the elementary level. Most of us are on mostly fixed, if not completely fixed, schedules to cover teachers’ planning periods, after all.
Some things I’m excited about this year:
- I’m presenting for the 2nd year in a row on the “How Are We Advancing with Ereaders?” panel. This year, however, I’m the only elementary librarian. A sad sign of the times. I’m suggesting, however, that it’s definitely possible for an elementary school, even one with a fixed schedule, to have an ereader lending program with a little planning ahead.
- The “Unconference” – While I’m tired of getting 1-2 emails PER DAY about the event, I think it’s an excellent sign that PSLA is trying something completely new to add to and diversify the conference experience. It should be interesting if nothing else.
- Reconnecting with my librarian friends from grad school – Thanks to marriage, families, and oh yes, our jobs, I don’t get much chance to stay in contact with my colleagues from the University of Pitt’s School Library Program (other than Facebook of course). I always enjoy stopping by the Pitt booth and chatting with my old professors and hopefully seeing some of my classmates from my Pitt days.
I also love conference time because of the conversations that happen outside of the sessions, dinners, lunch-and-learns, and meetings. I love striking up a conversation with the folks sitting at my table at dinner, or during the coffee breaks. These unscheduled times are just as valuable to me as the scheduled events, and I suspect the serendipitous times are some of the motivation behind the heavily-promoted “unconference” this year. Of course, the tech-tool learning, model curriculum training, and trend-watching is also valuable to me. I know at the end of the conference, my brain will feel like it’s going to explode with all the new ideas packed into 3 days. It will take me at least 2 weeks to decompress and process all the information amidst a full teaching schedule and last-minute budget ordering.
It’s still worth it, though. So if any of my followers are from PA or the surrounding area, I hope to see you at PSLA…and hopefully we can talk over lunch.