Anna Zbacnik, Brimhall Elementary – Roseville
FY12 Stelzner Scholarship Winner
As a new librarian, receiving the Steltzner Scholarship to attend ALA Annual in Anaheim, California was career changing. I attended many sessions, and met many great librarians and authors at the event. For me attending a conference this early in my career stressed the importance of attending professional conferences. As a school librarian, I am the only librarian in my building. Connecting with others in the profession and learning from them was an opportunity that I cannot wait to repeat. Having had the experience to learn more about iPads as a teaching tool, teaching students how to discuss books, and using Web 2.0 tools to work with students and teachers was exciting. Even more exciting was having the opportunity to discuss these ideas with librarians from around the country.
The day sessions were fantastic. Equally exciting was the opportunity to meet the authors that inspire me and my students to be lifelong readers throughout the conference. Everywhere I turned at ALA there was an author or librarian I looked up to and could learn from. I would encourage all new librarians to attend a professional conference – I am anxiously looking forward to my next one!
Laura Given, Parkview Center School – Roseville
Three things I loved about attending ALA Annual 2012:
- Authors and IllustratorsMy time at ALA was filled with amazing authors and illustrators.
I met so many wonderful authors and illustrators while exploring the vendor exhibits. There were also many award events celebrating amazing authors and illustrators. I attended the Newbery/Caldecott banquet, the Coretta Scott King Breakfast, the Printz Award presentation, and the Odyssey Award presentation.
- Inspiration, new ideas & strategies from fabulous sessions
I loved the AASL track of sessions for the conference. It was inspiring to hear my peers from around the country share the amazing things that have done with libraries and kids. I am excited to bring back so many ideas to my own school and community.
- Networking with my PLN in REAL LIFE!
A PLN is a Professional Learning Network. I have connected with many school librarians and teachers through Twitter and blogs. At ALA I was able to connect with them in person. Meeting face to face strengthened and deepened those relationships that provide me with constant support and inspiration.
Thank you, Metronet. The experience was amazing!
Sally Kimmes, Fair Oaks Elementary
With the AASL 15th National Conference and Exhibition being held just miles from my home, I wondered how could I not attend? Then I wondered how could I? Most of our building funds had gone to paying for additional staff, myself included. So, in the midst of a hectic end of year wrap up at school, I applied for the Lars Steltzner Scholarship, speaking in my application to how much I would like to see the workings of a national conference and the ways people across the nation are dealing with the issues of modern school librarianship to inspire and grow me as a 21st Century Teacher-Librarian.
One of the first sessions I attended was on the bookstore model applied to libraries. As the media specialist in a high poverty, PK-3 building, I see a lot of barriers to access to books. Since the students are so young and have had so few experiences in libraries, it is hard for them to grasp the organization of the library and therefore the breadth of what is available to them. I saw many positives pointed out in this session, as well as several cautions to consider before leaping into such an endeavor.
I attended a couple different sessions on ways to enhance writing. Writing is a key building goal this year and I came away with several ideas of how to use library resources to inspire writing as well as share the final product. I am especially interested in helping teachers connect to excellent writing in “mentor texts” that will illustrate different types of writing and ways to make your own writing more engaging.
Attending the AASL Conference in beautiful downtown Minneapolis was truly a highlight of this year! Thank you, Metronet and the Lars Steltzner family for the scholarship that made it all possible.
Ann Carstens, Maple Grove Junior H.S.
The AASL 15th National Conference and Exhibition was a great experience, especially for this first-time attendee and presenter. I attended great sessions covering a variety of topics, including Web 2.0 tools to lend a hand for readers advisory, and a “feast” of new teen literature. As a newcomer used to smaller conferences (shout out to MEMO!) I was amazed at the massive exhibit hall, great receptions on Friday evening and the closing dinner on Saturday evening.
The best part of the entire conference, for me, was presenting! Marcia Thompson (SCSU) and I presented a session called “The Power of Setting in Literature: Opening Windows to the World.” Since early last spring when we were notified of our selection, I’d been nervously, excitedly preparing our presentation, complete with dozens of photos from the study abroad program in England that I attended and Marcia co-taught with her husband, Mert, during the summer of 2008. The presentation went well, I happily chatted with a couple of session attendees, and still get goosebumps thinking about the whole thing!
I am very glad I was able to attend the AASL conference, and am thankful for the Metronet continuing education scholarship that helped with some of the costs of attending. It was an unforgettable experience!
Jenn Straumann, Crooked Lake Branch, Anoka County Library
Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference Report
I was grateful for support from Anoka County Library and a scholarship from Metronet which allowed me to attend MLA’s Annual Conference for the first time. I enjoyed connecting with colleagues from around the state and left with contacts and information which will benefit my library in the coming year. One valuable insight was gained from a social media session by Megan Kocher. She has a wonderful way of sharing the concept of social media evolution. While we know by virtue of their nature these platforms will change, we should not be afraid to jump in because the communication concepts will transfer. What we learn will inform both our staff and our users as we move to the next iteration. Another highlight was a session by Joyce Yukawa, Assistant Professor at St. Catherine’s MLIS program, detailing recent research on the Internet usage behavior and barriers for older adults (80+). A capstone program will create internships and service learning projects in partnership with area libraries. I was happy to be on the “Things in a Flash” panel sharing information about how libraries can use foursquare to reach out to mobile-savvy users. I also helped to present on the work of the Minnesota Library Futures Initiative which is tasked with envisioning the library of 2025. A great deal of energy and enthusiasm was generated as we asked the audience to discuss their vision for the future library — looking out 15 years in 15 minutes! My first MLA Annual Conference was busy, productive and incredibly valuable. Thank you!
Metronet awarded fourteen passes to the exhibit hall of the 2011 AASL (American Association of School Librarians) conference.
Thanks again for the opportunity to attend the AASL Exhibits! It was amazing! I met several authors (WOW) and came home with an amazing collection of posters and free books to enhance my 2 libraries. Best of all, however, was having an opportunity to talk to the other media specialists and “book” people! What a treat! Thank you!
School Library Media Specialist
I want to say thank you for the pass to the AASL exhibit hall. It was a marvelous experience and I am very glad I went. I was there Friday morning when they opened. This gave me an opportunity to speak with vendors without crowds of people. I learned how to use some reward programs that specific book companies offer, I discovered new publishers and was able to look at lots of newly published books. What fun! We use Destiny as our circulation system so I sat in on a presentation about the upcoming release and also got some one-on-one help from the tech people regarding how to set up some search features.
Although I was not able to attend the entire conference, I am so glad I had the opportunity to visit the exhibit hall.
Elementary Media Specialist
I attended the exhibit area on Friday, Oct. 28. It was fantastic. I really enjoyed the exhibits, short demos, talking with the reps, and of course the free books and “stuff”. Thank you for allowing me to receive one of the passes.
High School Media Specialist