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!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tennessee Association of School Librarians Co-op

I am so excited to be heading to Tennessee this week with Tamara and Kristen for the Tennessee Association of School Librarians Co-op!  Karen, the TASL professional development chair, has been so gracious via email and I am looking forward to meeting her and networking with librarians during two days, one in Gatlinburg and the other in Medina.  As Karen explained, Tennessee is a long state, and they repeat their summer professional development so participants can choose the more convenient site.

I'll be presenting two solo sessions.  "The first, What's a PLN, and Why Do I Want One?" I first shared at SCASL in March.  My personal learning network is responsible for saving my sanity, expanding my practice, and helping me to at least find the learning curve.  In one year, a great network of library professionals on Twitter, in the blogosphere, and via our state professional organization have helped revive my practice, and have made me a more effective librarian, as well as a much nicer person to be around. 

The presentation is below.

The other session I am presenting is "Sacred Cows - It's What's for Dinner!"  Inspired by many posts in the last year by librarians I admire who are questioning the practices that have led to our shushing stereotype, I'll reflect on our policies, procedures, and practices to determine whether they support our learning community goals, or just keep us in control of the herd. This was a fun session to create, and my partner-in-crime Tamara helped by putting together a Scoop-it topic.

Tamara, Kristen and I will also be presenting together at the general session.  The topic is, "The Care and Feeding of Administrators."  We will post that presentation at a later date. 

I'm looking forward to a wonderful week of travel, presenting, and meeting new members of our PLN.  When I get back, it will be time to start reading the books for our first Book Boot Camp chat! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I'm "Yapp"ing about #BookBootCamp

The seven South Carolina librarians who are putting together Middle Grade Book Boot Camp are gathering titles and getting our wiki together.  While doing that, I found an app via Librarians on the Fly that can keep all of our participants informed about the schedule, and provide a news feed via a Twitter hashtag. 

Yapp is a free online tool that allows you to create your own mobile app for important events that you want to share.  The design pages are easy to navigate.  Choose from several themes based on the type of activity you are promoting.  The app includes a homepage, invitation page, a page to include a schedule, a newsfeed for following a hashtag, and a gallery for photos that you want to share with the Yapp followers.  You can add extra pages to your app if you need them.  After you finish designing your app, you publish it and share it via a link or QR code.

This is great!  We have a year's worth of Twitter chats coming up, and we wanted to share the dates, the genres, the host for each chat, and the address for the wiki where the book lists are.  The newsfeed via our hashtag #bookbootcamp means that I don't miss any pertinent tweets. 

These are screenshots from my phone.  I downloaded the Yapp viewer, called Yappbox and entered the code of our Book Boot Camp Yapp.  

The schedule page has all of the dates for our chats.  If you click on the arrows pointing right you will see more details, including who is hosting the chat that month, their blog site, and a link to the wiki with a suggested reading list. 

 The News Feed follows your choice of Twitter hashtag. Most of our posts to the #bookbootcamp have been suggestions to each other of books we might want to add to our genre list, or to share a great title or list with other middle school librarians. 

If you need to edit your Yapp after you create it, that's easily done on the website.  When you publish it your followers get a prompt to update to the latest version.

If you want to follow our Middle Grade Book Boot camp via a Yapp, you can click on this link:

Of course, the app lends itself really well for major events like weddings, graduations, and family reunions,  but I think it would be great to use it for promoting events in the library.  What about a Yapp for your library events this year?  What would you include?