Thursday, October 30, 2014

SLJ Summit 2014

The 10th Annual School Library Journal Summit was held this past weekend at the beautiful St. Paul Hotel in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota.  Sue Inhelder, Alicia Patten, Christine Sturgeon, and Shannon Miller were four Iowa Teacher Librarians who attended the conference.  Here are some highlights:

The theme was "Fire It Up!" and what an apropos one at that.  We first got "fired up" listening to Dr. Mark Edwards, superintendent of the Mooresville (NC) Graded School District, who was named National Superintendent of the Year in 2013 by the American Association of School Administrators.  He has great respect for teacher librarians, advocating for his district TLs (many of whom were in attendance and spoke in a panel on their district's 1:1 program) and our field.
Check out this video from Capstone Publishing introduced at the SLJ Summit:

Another panel on Saturday was put on by "smart stakeholders" - the vendors who make the summit possible.  The companies represented were Follett, Baker & Taylor, Capstone, Junior Library Guild, Mackin, ABDO, LEGO Education, Rosen Publishing, Gale/Cengage Learning, Brain Hive, and Lerner Publishing.  The company representatives answered questions, including one by IASL Vice President/President-Elect Dixie Forcht, who asked about what goes into the cost of an ebook, and why prices differ so much from title to title.

Saturday ended with a panel by three nonfiction authors I have in my elementary library, Loree Griffin Burns, Joyce Sidman, and Elizabeth Rusch.
Sunday morning started earlier, so I'm glad I grabbed breakfast at my hotel in the suburbs.  I did a double-take when I saw a student from my school, also at the hotel in the suburbs!  (He was there for a wedding.)  Although I know the St. Paul Hotel was beautiful (and my god the lemon bars!), it was meant for me to be in the burbs and not downtown!

Stephen Turnipseed, President Emeritus of LEGO Education North America, was the Sunday morning keynote.  Some of the "bling" attendees received was a small bag of Legos, and we were instructed to make a duck.  After I saw others' examples on Twitter, I'm too embarrassed to put my duck here!  But check out my neighbor's (my neighbor being industry leader Christopher Harris!)

Turnipseed's message of creativity was an important one.  He stated, "Creativity will be the most important skill set of the future."
Next was a panel for those who hate panels, by Joyce Valenza, Doug Johnson, K.C. Boyd, and Michelle Colte, who each talked about who their animal represents their leadership style, and why.  There is a Padlet where attendees added their own:

There were so many words of wisdom and inspiration from this panel - more than I could keep up with on Twitter with my phone.  But here's one:
SLJ definitely saved the best for last, though.  Patricia Polacco, the prolific children's author of such classics as Pink and Say, For the Love of Autumn, and Thank You Mr. Falker, which tells the story of Polacco's own life, not learning until she was 14-years old that she had dyslexia.  The pièce de résistance of the entire weekend was when she read the book, The Keeping Quilt, and even show us her new keeping quilt (the original is on display in a museum).

That's not to mention all of the great connections that were made.  I saw old friends like Shannon, Sue, and Alicia, but made more, like husband-and-wife teacher librarians, Phil Goerner and Krista Brakhage, from Colorado.  It was great to meet strong leaders like Christopher Harris and Kristin Fonticharo and Andy Plemmons.

What a great weekend!