Monday, December 14, 2009

2020 Vision: Future of School Libraries

It was in the fall of 2000 that the North Carolina School Library Media Association became a reality! Born out of the desire "to provide professional and educational connections, opportunities, and support for North Carolina school library media personnel", the organization has provided an annual statewide conference and various programs and grants to meet the stated purpose of the association.

Our first conference in the fall of 2001 saw some incredible speakers and authors: Christopher Paul Curtis, Stephen Krashen, Suzanne Fisher Staples, and others. We were energized and enthusiastic about our new association and extremely excited about our first conference. School library media specialists enjoyed strong, well-funded programs and were afforded the professional luxury of attending our conference to network and learn with colleagues.

What has happened in school librarianship in the past ten years since the beginning of our new organization?

Technology obviously is very prominent in our daily lives and especially our schools and libraries. Who could have imagined students using wireless laptops to navigate online databases for a research project? Or students collaboratively planning projects and preparing presentations through wikis and blogs and other collaborative applications?

For years, futurists have talked about the books going away. The invention and increased usage of eBooks and devices like the Kindle have made some books more accessible, but they haven't necessarily completely displaced the books on our shelves in our school libraries.

In the past ten years, we've seen school library media specialists move more into the role of teacher leaders. We've become National Board Certified Teachers. We've embraced our role as professional development facilitators. We've worked to be more comfortable at advocating for information literacy and our media and technology programs.

As we look to our conference in the fall of 2010, what do the next ten years have in store for library media coordinators and our media and technology programs?

What's your 2020 vision for the future of school libraries?

Deanna Harris, NBCT
NCSLMA President-Elect

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hanging out with a new me

Who knew that going to Charlotte could be a life-changing experience? (Well, I suppose a few NASCAR drivers at the Speedway have seen their lives flash before their eyes!). I drove to Charlotte with plans to rev-up at the NCSLMA program, attend some cool sessions at AASL, pick up some freebies in the exhibit hall, catch up with old friends, and maybe enjoy some local cuisine. What I didn't expect was to start thinking big, and to begin seeing my professional life in a new way.

It all started during the opening session when I decided to log in to Twitter to follow the conversation @#aasl2009. I began by reading other people's tweets, and then I thought about the technology friend who'd introduced me to Twitter. I knew that she couldn't come to the conference, so I decided to start tweeting about what I was hearing as a way to connect with her and to share my learning. Surprisingly, the more I tweeted for her, the more engaged I became. Now I'll admit that I used to be an avid Twitter-basher, but in Charlotte I appreciated how Twitter prompted me to take charge of my personal learning, discover some exciting new sessions, hang out in the blogger's cafe (which, honestly, I would not have explored otherwise), and connect with some amazing people in our profession.

My metamorphosis continued . . . as I listened to leaders like Ross Todd, Joyce Valenza, and David Loertscher, while I shared ideas with some inspiring new people during small group discussion, and when I started thinking about the library media center as a learning commons. I heard the words "ubiquitous" and "21st century learning" everywhere. Now these ideas have found a growing place in me.

I went to NCSLMA & AASL thinking about what I would get out of the conference, but I left thinking about what I still need to give -- both to my profession and to my students. It's a little scary hanging out on the edge of the future (to paraphrase Doug Johnson), but it's also an exciting time & place to be. I can't wait to see and experience what the next year brings

One more thing --

connecting, learning, leading... you'll hear that theme from me this year as I peer out from the edge of our profession, looking squarely into the future. I invite you to join me out on the edge -- be a part of the conversation, hang out with me and with Deanna Harris (our new President-Elect), and get involved in NCSLMA, your professional organization.

Kelly Brannock,
NCSLMA President 2009-2010