Saturday, November 21, 2015

I want to be in the room where it happens

My very first task at this Virginia Association of School Librarians conference on Thursday morning was to present. I was at a three day professional development course over the summer and ideas were shared and it was suggested I submit a proposal to present in the fall. And I did. And I was accepted! So yesterday was my first opportunity to present at a professional conference of any kind and I think I did pretty darn well!

My session was on the The Music Teacher and the Librarian, and I shared a variety of ways that music teachers and school librarians can collaborate on lessons to support one another's program. Using ideas I gathered from other librarians, music teachers, and other educational colleagues, as well ideas of my own, I threw out several ideas for musical read alouds, research projects, listening and writing assignments, and other ways the librarian might be of use to the music teacher in fun and engaging ways for the students. I even got to work Hamilton into my presentation.

Since my school does not have a music program at this time, there is a lot I can't implement myself, but I hope the twenty-five or so people who attended got something out of it that they can take to their school.

It was a little nerve-wracking being among the first presenters. Everyone is still energetic and excited and not yet conferenced out or overwhelmed with ideas, like you might be by the third day. On the other hand, it was nice to get it over with and then just enjoy the rest of my meetings so far.

And enjoy them I have! As expected, I've been to sessions that have inspired me to make changes in my library now and other things to file away for later. Now that this is my second year attending VAASL meetings (I attended all the events that I could last year), I'm getting to know people and enjoy some networking as well. One of the sessions I attended today turned into a bit of a therapy session for me. It was intended to be a meeting of any solo librarians to network and meet together, but it ended up just being me and the facilitators. So, we talked about my job and the challenges I'm facing. They were really reassuring and encouraging and made me feel like I am doing the right things. I was even told that they were glad I was not the shrinking violet type, because I'd be even more challenged at my job if I were. It's really nice to receive professional validation from other librarians who know more than I do. One of them had even been to my presentation and enjoyed it!

I also won, in a round of genre bingo, a copy of a biography about my Texas hometown hero - Babe Didrikson Zaharias. She was a great athlete from the early 20th century who also grew up in Beaumont. I can't tell you how many times I wandered around the museum about her. It was right off the soccer fields, so I'd go there during my siblings' games sometimes.

It has also been wonderful to spend some time with an internet friend of mine, after meeting her in person for the first time. We've been friends on Twitter for at least four or five years and finally we got to hang out! She was a keynote speaker on Thursday and I think we both appreciated having a buddy to spend time with the last couple of days. It was also a highlight to get a shout out during her keynote address. I'll have to get up to Boston one of these days and hang out with her again!

I'm really glad to be attending this conference. Meetings like this can be hard for an introvert, and I miss my husband and dog, but I'm glad I'm here - learning things, feeling energized and rejuvenated about my job, and being among my people, strangers and friends alike!


Giggles said...

Go you presenting. Woohoo! Add it to your curriculum vitae! :)

(Okay, I'm a nerd.)

AmandaStretch said...

Thanks! I will! (And it's okay, I am too.) :)