Scholarship Recipients – FY18

Continuing Education Scholarship Reports – FY18
Articles from recipients of scholarships awarded in FY17 (7/1/17-6/30/18) – you can apply for one by clicking here!

Janis Shearer
Thank you to the Metronet Board for awarding me a Continuing Education Scholarship to attend the 2018 Special Library Association Conference!

As a library science graduate student enrolled at St Catherine’s, I attended the Special Library Association’s Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD between June 9-13, 2018. This was my second year attending SLA’s conference – the first was in Phoenix, AZ in 2017 – and though quite similar, I was deeply driven to attend this year’s event.

First, Dr. Carla Hayden, the first woman and first African-American nominated as Librarian of Congress, would be the keynote speaker during the opening session; and second, SLA’s newly formed Food, Agriculture, Environmental Resources (FAER) Division – which I am a member – would conduct their first business meeting and education sessions during the event.

As one of few Black female students attending St. Catherine’s for my MLIS degree, having the opportunity to hear Dr. Hayden’s keynote presentation was truly motivating. She is not only thoughtful, humble, and intelligent – but she provided a refreshing voice of encouragement in my sea of coursework lectures and day to day internship duties. I was truly honored to be in the audience as a #SLAer and recognized her challenge for us all to put our leadership skills to work in serving whomever our public is. In my case, “the public” is children who visit the UMN Landscape Arboretum’s  Andersen Horticultural Library for storytime. Dr. Hayden’s inspiring voice reminded me why I began and continue to work as an intern with Andersen Horticultural Library – to emphasize diversity and inclusion within the children’s collection and to demonstrate my strong commitment to horticulture and environmental sciences.

Additionally, attending FAER’s education sessions and networking with the presenters and attendees made an impact on my future work as a librarian. Some sessions I attended were, “What is Happening to Environmental Datasets?,” “It is Easy Being Green” and “The Science of Estuaries.” These were very informative and spoke to my horticultural interests in supporting patrons with agricultural information. I was truly “at home” being surrounded by special librarians with similar interests and as I prepare to enter the library field when I graduate in May 2019, I hope to continue and enhance the relationships and connections I made while in Baltimore. Thanks again to Metronet for making it all possible!


Dhaivyd Hilgendorf – Park Center HS, Osseo
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the American Association of School Librarian’s conference, held in Phoenix, Arizona, November 9-11, 2017. Without the support of the Metronet Continuing Education Scholarship, I would not have been able to afford the costs of attending.

The conference included the unveiling of the new AASL Standards for Learners, Librarians, and Library programs. While I have historically been a key figure in planning the biennial AASL Unconference, this year, one of the Standards committees was charged with the planning this year. I did make myself a key actor in the implementation of the Unconference, which included providing technical support, playing and singing a “working on the standards” song, and authoring a sought-after drawing depicting the role of inquiry in both student learning based on the new standards. There are six shared foundations in the new standards, all of which incorporate the learner competencies of thinking, creating, sharing, and growing. The foundations are: inquire; include; collaborate; curate; explore; and engage. I immersed myself in learning about these new standards so that I could return with materials and information to share with the chair of the ITEM Committee for rebuilding the ITEM standards. I have already shared these with the chair, providing her with a full copy of the standards. At the unconference, I worked directly with nationally renowned school librarians such as Joyce Valenza, Michelle Luhtala, Shannon McClintock Miller, Jane Lofton, current AASL Past President Audrey Church, and AASL Past President Sara Kelly Johns.

I also made a presentation at the Mackin booth in the exhibit hall about how school librarians can use MackinVIA to curate digital resources. My incorporation of an original ditty in the presentation was so well received that Mackin staff asked me to return to make the presentation again. Upon returning to the Twin Cities, I also shared this presentation with the library media specialists of Osseo Area Schools, who will be implementing its use in 25 schools. I initiated the integration of the Follett Destiny interface with MackinVIA for the district, thereby providing the opportunity for our students to have single-platform access to all of the electronic library materials along with the records for the physical collections.

Upon returning to my building, I also collaborated with the Teen Librarians from the local branches of the Hennepin County Library to get library cards into the hands of 500 students, and to collaboratively train them to use the electronic resources such as checking out e-books on their school-issued iPads; accessing databases, including NoveList Plus; managing their online accounts; and accessing program options. The collaboration was observed by the library media specialists from the other high schools in my district, whom I connected with the local public library teen librarians for similar collaboration opportunities at their schools.

With the permission of Joyce Valenza, I modified her Secret Search Strategies for Serious Searchers presentation to meet the needs of a group of students at my school who are working on an intensive International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme project. Both students and teacher were excited to learn some techniques for finding information that has been a challenge through standard search processes.

Also at the conference, I was inspired by the keynote addresses of Google’s Jaime Casap and teen book author Jason Reynolds. I also participated in a workshop about Future Ready Librarians by FRL leaders Shannon McClintock Miller and Mark Ray from which an idea came about holding a participatory evening event in my school learning commons designed for families and other community members. Students would present at stations, highlighting their learning and teaching others about some of the resources offered by our library program. Other workshops showcased how badging can be used to demonstrate student research skills mastery, and how to use the Question Formula Technique to help students create their own learning.

Thank you again for the opportunity to think, create, share, and grow with school librarians from around the country. Already, my learning has touched many students and practitioners in Minnesota, and I’ve only been back for a week!