Monday, February 2, 2015

A Blizzard of Activity at #alamw15

One of the biggest snowfalls of all-time in Chicago did not put a damper on the ALA Midwinter Conference there this weekend. Librarians from all over the world converged on the Windy City to meet and discuss issues key to librarianship and literacy.

As Iowa's delegate to the American Association of School Librarians,  it was my responsibility to attend two Affiliate Assembly meetings. It was exciting to meet representatives of many states who are dedicated to helping AASL fulfill its mission to empower leaders to transform teaching and learning.

Especially exciting this year was the announcement of a new advocacy campaign. Buttons that say "Ask Me How School Libraries Transform Learning" were distributed to state leaders along with business cards with talking points. These talking points can be used in an elevator speech or walk down the hall. I will touch on these individual talking points in an upcoming post.

A couple other highlights include:  
* Teaching through Games is another great initiative of Roger Rosen and Rosen Classroom. A key member of this program is Christopher Harris, an outspoken librarian on the role games play in learning. It would be great to get the Iowa AEAs to purchase class sets of some of these games. Take a look at www.rosenclassroom.com for more details.

* Swag. Newcomers to ALA events may be overwhelmed by the amount of freebies offered to librarians at conferences such as ALA Annual and ALA Midwinter. Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of books not yet published, bags, pens, bookmarks, buttons, posters, chocolates and candies are just a few incentives vendors offer to enter their booths. 

* Makerspaces. With so much time in meetings, I did not explore the vendors as much as I have in past years. This was probably the most interesting section of the exhibit hall and YALSA has an excellent handout for librarians who are interesting in creating or expanding makerspace in their school or library.

To learn more about ALA Midwinter, check out the hashtag #alamw15 back channel.