I have been attending ALA meetings and conferences for many years now. I have tried to be active in ALSC and have taken on different roles in different committees. What Annual has often meant to me in the past was a whole lot of committee meetings. Sure, I tried to get out onto the floor and talk with some publishers and discover new books, but the main thrust of my attendance was my committee.
This year, I looked at Annual through a new lens.
I was on the outgoing side of my Newbery tenure this year, and as such I have yet to commit to another committee! Anaheim meant celebration for me. But it also gave me an opportunity to look at my time at Annual in a different light.
Without hours of committee meetings, I was free to explore the sessions that were being offered. And what happened because of that? I left Anaheim feeling truly inspired.
Like Renee, I attended the session There’s An App for That. Before listening to these knowledgeable folks, I looked at iPads as a student device that could be used in the library, but I hadn’t considered using mine for storytime!
I discovered new (free) resources that I am happy to bring back to my teachers and kids.
I also dove into the YALSA and ALSC joint President’s Program that looked into the “Digital Lives of Tweens“. Not only did this session, enlighten me as to tween tech use in other parts of the country, it gave me a greater understanding about the lives and upbringing of today’s tweens.
And last but not least, there was the AASL President’s Program where Lori Takeuchi (Joan Gantz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop) shared the latest research on just how families and children are using technology in their everyday lives. Again, the session was enlightening and inspiring.
I am going to continue using my new lens to look at Annual attendance. I will make my schedule not only based on my committee meetings, but will be sure to make time to attend several of the sessions that are sure to leave me with a spring in my step and ideas for my program!