Here are some lessons I learned from our trip to The Big Easy:
- Network with as many folks as you can. At our meetings, we had the opportunity to talk with school librarians from our region (KY, SC, WV, VA, TN, NC) as well as across the country. But it was also the conversations standing in author signing lines and on the airplanes and throughout the conference that reconnected us with passionate readers, tech savvy individuals, and information gurus.
- Pack lightly and mail your books home or stick them in your suitcase. Yes, I borrowed my five year old daughter's suitcase for the trip -- rolled clothes and I had plenty to wear for our six days. But I did mail two boxes of books (freebies and a couple that I purchased) back home to avoid hefting 40-50lbs of books on the plane.
- Wear comfortable shoes to a national conference. While Deb Christensen clocked over 16,000 steps on her pedometer one day during the conference, I'm sure that between the two of us Sarah and I walked 40 miles during our trip. Comfy sandals and supportive tennis shoes were our friends.
- AASL has some great resources, if you'll just take advantage of them. At our Affiliate Assembly meeting, we were reminded of the toolkits and planning guides at the AASL website that can help us be better teachers, assessors, planners, and advocates in our library media programs.
- Leadership is key to making things happen in our profession. While we heard some incredible speakers and authors, we also heard from key leaders in our profession, folks who are at the building levels just like us and making a difference everyday in the lives of students, teachers, and fellow school librarians.