Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thank you TASL!

As mentioned in my previous post, The Librarians in the Middle went to Tennessee last week to participate in the Tennessee Association of School Librarians 2013 Summer Co-op.  Tamara, Kristen, and I were overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of the professionals who were in attendance, and were blessed with smooth sailing (well, driving) the entire week.

Karen Haggard, the brave soul in charge of putting this show together, did a great job of arranging venues, ordering lunches, coordinating for technology, scheduling presentations, and making sure that the three of us were comfortable in all of our travels.  The mark of a good organizer is that she makes it look easy, but I know that these two days of professional development represented many hours of planning and preparation from Karen and those who helped her in each city.  The librarians at each of the two school venues were gracious and concerned that all session presenters had everything they needed.

There and back again.
A few random thoughts:

I drove over 1,000 miles across the great state of Tennessee and back again.  The Google Map looks like a giant loop with a little tail into and out of western Tennessee.  Our starting point was the dot near Greenville, SC.

All parts of Tennessee are beautiful - the flat farmlands west of Nashville, the river basin in Chattanooga, and the mountains around Gatlinburg.  

Thank goodness for Kristen's phone because my GPS did not understand Nashville, at all!
Clean sheets!  Every night!

We stayed at four Hampton Inns, all of which had these sticky notes stuck to the bed headboards:
We were very glad that we rated clean sheets every night.

I was able to attend one session in Medina when I was not presenting.  It was on library programs, presented by Susan Harris, and left me with several ideas of activities that I want to try next year.  Susan said it was her first presentation.  I think she needs to plan to do more, it was great!

Karen put together the coolest gift bags for us as we were leaving.  I love bags full of goodies, and all of these came from businesses located in Tennessee.   Davidson Titles donated some nonfiction books and the bag, which has a great quote from Erasmus on it, "When I get a little money, I buy books, and if any is left, I buy food and clothes."

Goody bags!
Did you know that the first Coca-Cola bottling plant was in Tennessee?  Me, neither!  Martha White Flour became a sponsor of the Grand Ole Opry in 1948, and I've been cooking with that flour for over 35 years.  Little Debbie Cakes!  Pringles!  Moon Pies!  (I know, they are not in the photo.  The Moon Pies did not make it all the way back to South Carolina.  I ate them in Tennessee.)  According to Karen, Moon Pie began because "Tennesseans wanted something big, round, filled with marshmallow, and covered with chocolate, and it needs to be as big as the moon!"  Who wouldn't want that!

Remember TASL 2013 Summer Co-Op!

As we were leaving, Karen made sure that I had a pen that looked like an ear of corn and a Mason jar mug as a remembrance of my trip to the 2013 TASL Co-op.  In the jar was a business card with a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson that really speaks to me as a teacher and librarian.  "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." 

I hope that our presence at the Co-op planted some seeds.  I have some newbie Tennessee Twitter followers that I hope were influenced by the session about the power of PLN's.  I think we could have discussed Sacred Cows for hours, laugh at ourselves, and still come away thoughtfully provoked.  The keynote on The Care and Feeding of Administrators was fun to plan, but was intended to give everyone some food for thought.

This was a fun trip.  It was an honor to be invited, and I look forward to learning more from the librarians in Tennessee whom I met and who are now part of my PLN on Twitter.  It was a great start to summer professional development. Now it's time to hit that TBR stack beside my bed! #summerthrowdown starts July 1!