Make It Happen: Delta Kappa Gamma Keynote

Today I had the incredible honor of giving the Keynote address at the Delta Kappa Gamma, Alpha Alpha State Pennsylvania Convention in beautiful State College, PA – home of Penn State.
This was my first Keynote and I was more nervous than I ever imagined I would be. There were only about 300 people in the audience, but I was terrified. Prior to my Keynote, I scanned the crowd and saw many faces I recognized – including a Superintendent from my previous district and some of the teachers I had in elementary school.
When I saw my elementary teachers – I wondered if they ever saw me becoming “something”. Even though high school, I just blended in. I wasn’t dumb, but I didn’t see the need to display my intellect in any further capacity than what was required of me.
I say that because, as a teacher, I find myself picking out students saying “oh, you’re going to be something some day – I just know it!” But what about all of those other kids. Those kids like me? I wonder if they’re more impressed because they never saw it coming. So while I’m smiling inside, I’m also keeping in mind the way that I “judge” students future based on their current lives.

Dear students – prove me wrong!

The Keynote was such an amazing experience and I can’t thank the organization enough for treating me like family.
Below are the slides from my Keynote.

I am also doing a workshop on Library as Learning Commons which you can find on my Presentations page.
Now go make something happen!

Extended Your Reach @ PSLA 2016

I just wrapped up an exciting weekend with some amazing Pennsylvania librarians at the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association annual conference. This conference is always held at the “sweetest place on Earth” – Hershey, Pennsylvania. Fortunately for me, this is also the town in which I teach, so I had very little traveling to do.

I currently serve on the Board of Directors for PSLA, so my conference began with a Board Meeting. Meanwhile, other attendees had the fortune of attending a pre-conference workshop learning about the new state evaluation system and how librarians can/should be evaluated. (There is so much debate on this topic and I’m still working out my personal opinion on the issue). So often teacher-librarians are pushed into professional development offerings that target classroom teachers, we sometimes get lost in the mix. And while we most certainly ARE teachers and a lot of the information is beneficial, it’s nice to have a dedicated professional development for our unique role. Many librarians look to PSLA to fulfill that need.

Thursday evening was the official kickoff. I got to present at the Tech Learning Lab with Mackin to chat about our new eBook consortium. (I am SO excited about this – more news to come soon).

The lovely @LibrarianLister and @MackinVIA presenting at #PSLA2016 Tech lab!

— PSLA_News (@PSLA_News) May 12, 2016

Then we headed to dinner and our keynote speaker, Richard Byrne. Richard spoke on “Leading Students in a Hyper Connected World” and he was kind enough to share his presentation on his blog, FreeTech4Teachers. Nothing is better than a speaker with a sense of humor. Particularly after a long day of learning.

He really had the crowd rolling when he shared this clip from The Office.

I had followed his blog prior to see him speak, and I’m confident he just gained a few hundred more after his keynote.

Friday morning was kicked off with the Awards Breakfast. This is one of my favorite events in the entire conference because I get to see so many hard working individuals be recognized.

Yay! @mschwander winning the Outstanding Individual School Library award! #PSLA2016
— Heather Lister (@LibrarianLister) May 13, 2016


Congrats @MrsJinthelib and the Wilson SD for winning Outstanding School Library Program Di…
— Heather Lister (@LibrarianLister) May 13, 2016


Way to go! #PSLA2016 Outstanding Administrator Award! Every librarian needs a supportive admin team.
— Heather Lister (@LibrarianLister) May 13, 2016


Outstanding Building Level Admin Award #PSLA2016 So many good words about libraries.
— Heather Lister (@LibrarianLister) May 13, 2016


PA Young Readers Choice winners! #PAYRC #PSLA2016
— Heather Lister (@LibrarianLister) May 13, 2016


We also heard from Jerry Spinelli and Alan Grantz who were PA Young Readers Choice recipients in 2015. (Soo awesome!!)
Great discussion w/ @AlanGratz & @JerrySpinelli1 about writing Holocaust books for young people #PSLA2016

— Phil Burrell (@pburrell) May 13, 2016

The best and worst part about conferences is choosing sessions. I love the ability to choose sessions that interest me, but find it SO frustrating when so many awesome sessions are occurring at the same time. PSLA 2016 was no exception. 

PSLA used this awesome tool called Sched to post the sessions online. You could create an account and make your own schedule. I love it! You can still see the schedule of events here. You can even upload session handouts straight to the app. I loved it.

I presented with some of my best friends (also colleagues) on Blended Professional Learning. You can see our slides here.

After the last session, I grabbed a bite to eat and geared up for the Unconference!

We did the Unconference “Learning Commons” style where we organized according to our interests. You can see the spreadsheet here. There was some amazing discussion on eBooks, makerspaces, coding! (Unconferences are another love/hate relationship. I want to be at EVERY table at the same time).

Along the way, librarian’s shared their “Library Wins” which was so empowering.

After the discussions, we moved to the Smackdown. During the Smackdown, librarians share their favorite tools or bring up a topic they’d like to discuss.

Saturday was an easy day with breakfast, our author keynote by Jacqueline Davies, and one final session.

The end of the conference is always bittersweet. You’re so exhausted so you’re happy, but you’re sad that you may not see some of these people for an entire YEAR! (What was life before social media?)

I am so happy to have been a part of the conference. I am also thankful that the conference ended on a Saturday giving me an entire Sunday to get re-energized for the week ahead.

As much as I love attending national conferences like ISTE, AASL, and FETC, there is so much power in your local organization. It’s like a little family. We support each other, we encourage each other, we console each other. I remember my very first time I attended PSLA – I was in my junior year as an undergrad. Since then, my family has grown tremendously with new librarians, but the old faces stay around – supporting, encouraging, and consoling. Regardless of whether they just retired or retired a decade ago – they’re love and passion for school libraries is contagious.

#psla2016 Tweets

Be the Change – TYSL

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – President Barack Obama

I began studying library science in 2007. We were told that jobs were going to be in high demand due to retirements and that job satisfaction was among the highest of all careers in education. I learned as much as I could about librarianship and instructional technology. Fortunately, the university I attended had the Instructional Technology and Library Science departments combined, so I was able to immerse myself in emerging technologies as well. I had fun. I was excited to begin my career as a “21st Century Librarian”.

Then came 2008. Librarian positions began getting slashed. Library support positions were slashed. Funding was slashed. Some libraries closed altogether. It was heartbreaking. Yet, despite this devastation, it brought about a great deal of good.

For the few years following the economy crash, students and teachers found ways to survive without us – without the “traditional” us. And now that we’re back, we can’t be the librarians we used to be.

We need to transform.

Which is why I’m so excited to be a part of Mackin’s movement, Transform Your School Library (TYSL). TYSL is a forum where like-minded educators who are excited about the transformation of school libraries can have an arena to work within and help to secure the future of school libraries and school librarianship. I love reading through the Q&A section – they just get it! I’m the only librarian in my school, and it’s sometimes difficult for teachers to see the library as anything other than a warehouse of books. After all – that’s what their library was like when they attended school. And although it can be frustrating, it’s also invigorating. I want to be the librarian that they wish they had when they were in school. I’m not quite sure what that looks like – its still evolving. And it probably will continue to transform. 

I can’t wait to see what this group comes up with. I’m so excited and honored to be an advocate of TYSL. Stay tuned for more to come!

After all, “progress is impossible without change.”