Why I recommend the event:
- attention to detail: Everything from registration to scheduling to lunch was planned and executed in a smooth, effective, efficient manner. Anyone who has ever been to any number of professional conferences knows that this is not often the case.
- schedule: I left Durham at 6:00 a.m. to be in Greenville on time, so I was about ready to leave when the summit ended around 3:30. Even so, since the event was about the length of a school day with a nice lunch break to boot, I didn't feel exhausted or overloaded, but it was still worth the drive.
- speakers: Most of the speakers were either media specialists from North Carolina or media-friendly folk from the NC Department of Public Instruction. I always want to hear what works for other media specialists above anyone else, so I loved the fact that most of the small session speakers were my colleagues. The featured speakers were an author (Michael Dahl - not incredibly well-known, but solid) and Ann Martin, the president (!) of AASL, so that was a treat too.
- price: You can't beat it for $25. The summit coordinators did a great job of getting sponsors for the event to reduce costs for participants. Lunch, breakfast, and snacks were provided in abundance, and we got all kinds of great free stuff, including a book by the featured author and the ubiquitous "conference bag" to add to the collection.
- Suggestion Box: I know this is kind of a "No, duh" thing probably for many of my colleagues, but I'm pretty new, and I don't have a Suggestion Box in my library yet. But I will now. And I even created a Virtual Suggestion Box on the media center web page.
- staff development plan: February, being Black History Month, tends to be my biggest month in the media center for research projects. I am in the process of planning a short staff development session for the 4th and 5th grade teaching teams that will include the topics of research process, avoiding plagiarism, research projects that discourage plagiarism by their very nature, evaluating web sites, why Wikipedia is not an authoritative source, etc. And I can also advertise myself as a wonderful collaborative partner for research projects and share my African American History pathfinder for our library materials. Should be fun!
- leadership frames: Ann Martin talked about four frames for leadership (structural, human resource, political, and symbolic) and how to incorporate each when leading and advocating for the media department. Hopefully, some of these ways of thinking will bring some clarity to what I say about the program.
For those new to the library field (like me!) or maybe working toward the field, my top piece of advice is to participate in professional learning whenever possible. It may take some time, travel, and sometimes (sigh) money out of your own pocket, but it's so worth everything! So go ahead and be a big library geek; you won't regret it.