US Study Trip – AASL Conference Day 3

US Study Trip – AASL Conference Day 3

I got a lot out of the AASL coference, but by this point my mind was getting to maximum occupancy, and I found it hard to get as much out of each of the individual sessions.  I have no idea if this comes down to the quality of my brain, or the quality of the sessions!  However, it continued to be great to meet and talk with different librarians.

Pre-session – eBooks and Audiobooks from Overdrive/Listening Library

This was mostly salesmanship from Overdrive.  Whilst I already knew most of what they said, it was really reassuring to attend this session and suss out the competition in the trade show – I still think that Overdrive is definitely the right decision for our school (which is a great thing to be reassured about, as it initially felt like a leap of faith).

Taken away

  • Get in touch with Mesquite school to find out about what marketing they did
  • Chase Destiny up again – when will they integrate with Overdrive?
  • Email Claudia info on Thai copyright law, so that they can get us the licit Gutenberg ebooks
  • Check YALSA outstanding audio list for suggestions
  • Download Overdrive dashboard at school for better stats

Session 1 – Inquiry, interaction and knowledge; the student library website

I didn’t like the presenters’ style so much on this one – they kept rambling off into weird and seemingly irrelevant stories – but I did learn a lot from the content.  Unfortunately, giving my school’s understandable concern with things in Thailand like the Computer Security Act, we are very limited in how we allow students to comment publicly online.  However, I really liked the ideas in this session for how to raise a library website to the next level, and the sorts of information and presentation styles that work well.  And there were specific things that we can implement at Shrewsbury – for example embedding polls in the blog.

Taken away

Session 2 – Turing the page; purposeful programming for your patrons

I was really energised by the passion of the two presenters in this session – you could tell they really cared about their library and their students.  A lot of the angle of this session wasn’t really relevant to my library – it was all about doing things on tight budgets, and applying for grants – neither of these are things I have to think about at Shrewsbury, which has been a nice change in my career.   However, there were some interesting ideas to take away.

Taken away

  • Remember the importance of “surprise and delight”
  • Consider doing one-off book groups on a particular topic, or maybe even a history book group on fiction in a certain era –eg Roman mysteries?
  • Go into registration to promote something more often
  • Think about starting a Thai language book group youtime
  • Gaming – something to think about long term
  • Do a Book Tasting some time – sample of different drinks, along with books, drinks unlabelled, students have to match drink to book
  • “Collaboration is the best advertisement”

Session 3 – A road map to becoming your school’s technology leader

I’d been really looking forward to this session, and was slightly disappointed – it seemed to be aimed at people at a much lower technological level than me, so it was harder to get something out of it.  Again, there wasn’t much of an interactive element, which made it harder to continue concentrating.

Taken away

  • “It’s not enough to be tech savvy, librarians need to be tech leaders”
  • Focus on specific attainable steps, and keep adding something – eg. learn new things with Dreamweaver this term, 1 new/improved tech in a class visit each half term
  • Learn new technologies throroughly, in order to be confident when using with a class
  • Think about asking one of the US librarians I’ve met to be an online mentor for me to keep me going
  • Start contributing to INSET .  See if there is a school technology committee I can get in on

Session 4 – General closing session with Dr Mimi Ito

I found Dr Mimi to be a very informed and informative speaker.  I’d watched her short DVD the night before, and it was really interesting to get her angle on how we can/should be embedding new technologies and collaboration into student learning.  I found her lecture far more instructive than Nicholas Carr’s talk at the start of the conference.

In closing…

I found attending AASL a really valuable experience, but also very demanding in terms of the energy it needed, and being so proactive about talking to strangers.  I’m really looking forward to getting back to my library, and working with my team.  There are some new things I’ve learnt that I want to do at my school this minute, and others that will be things to think about over the course of this year.  Given the distance, I’m unlikely to ever attend AASL again, but I hope to stay in touch with some of the contacts that I’ve made here, and keep sharing information and ideas.  Maybe a few might come and visit Thailand sometime!


About angellibrarian

Children's/teen librarian working in an international school in Thailand.
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