This summer my husband and I packed up, threw a couple of dogs in our car, and moved from Texas to Massachusetts. I had resigned from my amazing job as an elementary librarian in Coppell, TX and accepted the Media Specialist position at Shrewsbury High School (just outside of Worchester, MA). Our summer was spent looking for houses, attempting to understand the foreign language that is real estate, and playing Tetris with all of our belongings. On the bright side, between packing, driving, and across country flights, I have finished a record number of audio books.
In the middle of all this, I flew to San Francisco for my first ALA Annual conference. I fortunately received a Penguin Young Readers Award, an award that is given to support 4 members of ALSC who have fewer than 5 years experience in the library to attend their first ALA Annual. This experience may not have been a moment of calm amidst my chaotic summer, but it was a reinvigorating weekend that went beyond my expectations.
Conference attendance provides the important opportunity to increase your involvement in ALSC and ALA as well as network with colleagues. This is the core justification for my continued participation at ALA conferences. I am a member of the ALSC Membership Committee, and as a part of my commitment to this committee, I helped to organize the ALSC 101 event. I have had the opportunity to learn more about the division through the committee, but ALSC 101 helped to provide a greater understanding of opportunities for involvement within ALSC.
Each opportunity to work on a committee or volunteer in any way helps ALSC support library services to children. We are a passionate group of individuals and our voices carry weight within the world of libraries, children’s literature, and education. Take the opportunity to become involved.
Our community is a powerful resource for any librarian. I was able to speak with many others who work with children and teens in the library. There were also a number of sessions I attended about school libraries, STEM programming, and diversity. This conference allowed me to take advantage of the wealth of experience from other conference attendees as I bring a stack of new ideas and perspectives to my library.
As I write this, I am one week away from my first day at a new school, with high schoolers for the first time, and across the country from everything I know. The conference was not a reprieve from my chaotic summer. In the span of 4 days, I attended my first Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet, explored San Fransisco, watched an incredible city wide Pride celebration, met a number of phenomenal authors, snagged a few amazing ARCs for review, and hung out with some the coolest librarians I know. It was busy, it was crazy, it was fun, but most importantly it was transformative. My first ALA Annual gave me the confidence to take on my new role and the knowledge that there is a large community within ALSC and ALA to support my library, my students, and me.
Emily Bredberg works as a High School Media Specialist in Shrewsbury, MA. She has spent the few remaining weeks of her summer reading and hiking through some of New England’s beautiful forests. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @BredbergReads.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
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Thanks so much for this this post, Emily, and for being a part of our powerful resource of a community! Have a great school year!