How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Jeannie.Standal's picture

This summer has been a whirlwind of travel, activity and learning here at the School Libraries desk at ICfL.  Topping the list of favorites of the summer were opportunities to meet many Idaho school librarians from all parts of the state.  Running a close second was learning about new trends and developments in Libraryland to bring back to our state.  So, in the spirit of the traditional back-to-school essay, here is How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

On to the details!

Summer Summit 2015 for School Librarians was a success!  This year we tried something new; the first day of the Summit was a meeting for School District Library Coordinators.  Twelve supervising school librarians attended a day kicked off by opening remarks from Fritz Peters, PSS15 Fritz Petersrincipal of Wood River Middle School in Hailey.  Mr. Peters shared the reasons the school library should be the center of the school and the benefits for students and teachers of a vital school library program.  It was an excellent start to a day of conversation about school library issues, new trends in librarianship and success stories.

Later that day, we heard from Jamie Bair from Marshall Public Library in Pocatello about how mentorship programs might look help school librarians on both the mentor and mentee ends of the relationship.  Staci Shaw from ICfL led a productive discussion on supporting early literacy in elementary schools, and Erica Compton and Gena Marker led a hands-on session on maker programs in the school library.

Gwyneth JonesOn days two and three, 38 school librarians and 7 table facilitators from all over Idaho attended our school library extravaganza!  One of the highlights of the workshop was our keynote speaker, Gwyneth Jones, The Daring Librarian. She was informative, funny, and school librarians all over idaho are implementing her suggestions for integrating technology and social media into the school library right now!  The slides from all three of Gwyneth's presentations at the Summit are available and free to use.  If it asks you to sign in, just click on ICfL Summer Summit on the list on the left side of the page.  Please remember to give credit.  Check out the award-winning Daring Librarian Edublog, too!

Other fantastic presentations and discussions centered on LiLI, making in the school library, Idaho Core Standards Key Shifts, nonfiction selection, reading on grade level by 3rd grade, and summer reading.  And don't forget the memes!  Slides and materials for most of the presentations are available on the School Libraries page of the ICfL Website.  Use them as you like, but please give credit to presenters who are not ICfL staff.

A huge thank you to all the Summiters who took time out of busy summer schedules for professional development!  We admire your dedication to your students and your libraries!  And another huge thank you to the seven school librarians who served as facilitators and to all those who presented and made the Summit a success and time well spent for all the participants!

Interested in attending Summer Summit 2016?  Keep an eye on School Zone, LibIdaho, the School Libraries Facebook page, ICfL's School Library Twitter feed (@JeannieStandal), and/or check in here at the Commission's website.  We'd love to see you there!

And then there was Elementary School Access MiniGrant Training where Staci, Stephanie and I had the chance to meet with school librarians on their own turf.  We held workshops in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, and Boise on topics relevant to the grant and to elementary school libraries. The groups discussed topics like literacy development, circulation policies, motivating kids to read, and summer learning loss.  It sounds heavy, but we had a great time and are looking forward to the next tour!

The American Library Association Annual Meeting is a nearly overwhelming treasure trove of authors, seminars, speakers, and events. This year's meeting was no exception and I brought back some wonderful ideas that may turn up in next year's Summer Summit, or in The School Zone over the next school year. Intrigued?  Stay tuned!

And then there was the Pacific Northwest Library Association Annual Conference and more.  In the middle of all the summer activity, it struck me how important is was to keep learning, even about things we already know a lot about.  New developments could change the way we approach a topic, especially in the ever-evolving world of libraries.  In the end, all of our collective learning, connecting, and stretching of skills will benefit school libraries and students.  With that in mind, mastering new skills and learning new concepts is a worthy goal.  Whether learning the ins and outs of an ILS, enrolling in a formal library class, or reading new titles, professional development is one key to library success.  There are learning options for baby steps, giant steps, and every step in-between.  So here's to life-long learning for librarians and for students!

Here are some free professional development tools available to school librarians.