Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Librarian's Retreat: TASLA Workshop




Last month I had the privilege of attending the Texas Administrators of School Librarians conference held every summer in Austin, TX. I thought it would be a great opportunity to network, since I’m an aspiring library administrator. My library director is the president elect of TASLA, Suzy Ferrell, she too thought this would be a great learning and networking experience. Since Suzy is president elect I was able to be a part of the behind the scenes action of the conference. I’ve been on Twitter and the TLC Listserv for years and certain names you learn fast in the Texas library world like Naomi Bates, Becky Calzada and others. While preparing for the first presentation a nice lady sat down next to me who looked familiar, she introduced herself as Naomi. As I took a Twitter brain break, I realized I was sitting next to Naomi Bates. The next day I realized the person sitting in the row in front of me was Becky Calzada. I had to take a stelfie. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t just misspell selfie. A stelfie is a type of selfie, Google it. I just learned about the term at this conference. See my first stelfie with Becky Calzada below. This conference included lots of library “big dogs.” It was an action packed three days full of learning and growing.

Mark Ray, library administrator of Vancouver Public Schools and a co-leader of the Future Ready Librarians progression, spoke about the changing role of the librarian and the library. Instead of being the stereotypical keeper of the books, branch out and reinvent the library to entice today’s students was a main point of the presentation. During Mr. Ray’s presentation he conveyed, as librarians we need to support effective use of technology and make the library a collaborative learning space. Instead of focusing on cornerstone library task such as collection development we need to focus on “connection development.” We need to focus on our role as a team player at our school and concentrate on the future. During the presentation, he invited the audience to visit futureready.org. There are upcoming free conferences coming up in various cities listed on this website and there are archived webinars you can watch at anytime.  


Valerie Gross, library administrator of Howard County Public Library System, was another TASLA presenter who left a lasting impact. She talked about branding and how we can reinvent a stronger relevant image as librarians. Instead saying programming use the term classes. Instead of saying circulation desk call it the research desk. Ms. Gross states these are relevant terms the people we serve can understand. It's fun to speak library, but it doesn't help our profession if stakeholders don't understand our library language. As librarians we need to let stakeholders know the library’s goal is academic success for all students. Valerie Gross’ library system uses the logo library = education listed below, and it is a growing logo for public and school libraries that states the message every stakeholder needs to know about the library.



There were lots of other great presenters, but these two left a lasting impression on this blogger. It is not about changing everything we do, it is about making sure people see and know what we do as librarians. It is not about isolation or us versus them, it is about working together collaboratively to encourage student innovation, creativity, and critical thinking. 

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