Monday, March 17, 2014


I signed up for the SCASL Preconference session called iLead with Ann Martin and Gail Dickerson. We explored the topic of leadership and leaders. One recurring message I kept hearing Ann Martin say was that our students learn from us when we choose to take on leadership positions.  Because I was a candidate for SCASL's President Elect, I nervously listened to the messages about being a leader.  I have been in what I consider a leadership position at my school for a long time and it just feels natural. Being the SCASL President is another story.  I was worried that taking on such a position  would take me away from my students and end up not being such a good thing. So, I found it comforting to think that my decision to accept a leadership role might just wind up being good for my students.

As I walked in to school this morning  that message hit me smack in the face as I looked at signs and decorations that welcomed me back. I am still absolutely bowled over by the balloons, cake and signs posted all over the building. I don't think I will ever forget today.

Students did not make the signs or hang up the decorations, but they certainly were proud and impressed and curious about SCASL and my role in the organization. They made me laugh with their questions about Secret Service Agents and motorcades.

Wouldn't it be something if all of this inspired one of these students to someday accept a leadership role? I will carry my students with me on this journey. I can't wait to see where it takes us.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Unpacking SCASL '14

I always look forward to our SCASL Conference because I come away with so many nuggets of insight, innovation and inspiration that excite me and improve the library services I offer my students. This year's conference experience was nonstop action for me, like a bullet train.

Of course, we have been preparing for SCASL's annual conference long before last week.  The IT Committee prepared  a session and display board on our new membership management software: Memberclicks, readied the Guidebook Conference App and continued to update our website as needed by our conference planners.  Memberclicks sent a $50 Amazon gift card, as well as some pens and stickers. It was great fun giving them away. Cathy Jo's idea to put the names of all members who had updated their memberclick's profile was genius. It thrills me to no end that Judy Garner, the librarian who won the $50 gift card, is buying books for her library with it! Next year I'd like to put another of Cathy Jo's ideas into action by giving avatar awards like, cutest avatar, most mysterious avatar etc. 

As a candidate for President Elect, I was required to prepare a short talk to introduce myself after our first keynote address. In addition to this I was asked to  "unveil" our new site during the first General Session.As I prepared my presentation, it was inspiring to look back at when she was just a baby. Isn't she adorable? This picture was taken 13 years ago. 

Book Boot Camp had a session, so I prepared an Animoto on humorous books at the middle school level and lined up with the other middies to talk about books. Tamara Cox and Monique German are like rock stars to me, so I was thrilled to actually be presenting with them! They are so professional and polished, and they take everything they do to the next level of awesome.  
Ain't no party like a middle school party baby!

 Can you believe I happened to luck out and get a ticket to the sold out Taste of Columbia Tour? That was simply amazing. Our guide, Dawn, was wonderful. We spent the evening laughing, singing, eating and drinking. What's not to love about that?  My favorite restaurant was Pearlz where we had Oysters on the half shell. Here we are at the Tin Roof. 
I'm gonna whoop somebody!

It felt good to relax after all that hard work, but I still had one more session to go the next day.  Friday morning, my colleague Pam Fowler headed to Columbia with a car load of students to do a 9:45  iMovie presentation with me. By the time I made it downstairs from the second General Session and Toni Buzzeo's awesome keynote, our session was full. Not only that, but I had just learned that I was President Elect and had to plan the next conference. My head was spinning!  Our students did a fantastic job and most people seemed to come away with at least one thing they could use. I think the green screen app we shared was impressive to many people. So, we shared it in Cathy Jo Nelson's "Don't Worry Be Appy" session and then  took our students out for cupcakes! This made for the perfect ending to an amazing conference experience. It seems that I am going to get off this bullet train for a few days and then get right back on another one as I take the reins of SCASL's President Elect and begin to plan the 40th Annual Conference. 
Students make the best technology presenters!