Blogger Andrew Medlar

Wrapping Up #SXSWedu

A lot of great things happened at SXSWedu since my last post!

Aimee and Andrew can't wait to share the power of libraries!
Aimee and Andrew can’t wait to share the power of libraries!

On Tuesday, ALSC hosted a booth at the SXSWedu Expo, which was free and open to the public. Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter and I had the opportunity to speak to the thousands of attendees of all ages from all over the world about the transformative power of libraries. Many were drawn in by our cool magnetic building tools, which we brought to show, as our 2012 White Paper shares, “The Importance of Play, Particularly Constructive Play, in Public Library Programming” and of the awesome STEAM learning opportunities libraries provide. While advocating for the essential role of all libraries in every community, we were delighted to be able to specifically highlight the amazing work being done right there in central Texas as Aimee as I were joined in our booth by Kathleen Houlihan from Austin Public Library and Sally Miculek from Georgetown Public Library who were able to promote their amazing services for children. Thank you Kathleen and Sally!

That afternoon I attended a powerful session on “Designing an Innovative Future for Early Learning” featuring Michael Levine, co-author with Lisa Guernsey, of Tap, Click, Read, and attended by Libby Doggett, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education where she leads the Office of Early Learning. I listened in on a panel on “School’s Out, So Let the Learning Continue,” which billed itself as exploring “the myriad opportunities open to kids outside of the classroom” but which, IMO, did not contain enough talk of libraries, showing how much more advocating we have yet to do to ensure we’re part of this national conversation. And I was blown away by the fabulous “Hacking Education Through Libraries” presenation by ALA’s own Miguel Figueroa, Director of the Center for the Future of Libraries; Carolyn Foote, District Librarian at Westlake High School in Austin; and Joyce Valenza, Director of the MLIS program at Rutgers, my alma mater. Their interactive program produced many great ideas on the ways libraries can play even greater roles in education in the future and you can find many of those on Twitter using

Then it was time to pay an #ALSCtour visit to the Austin Public Library’s Faulk Central Library and to learn about the amazing New Central Library coming to the city this fall.

The children's room in Austin's Faulk Central Library
The children’s room in Austin’s Faulk Central Library

You can find more pictures from that visit and thoughts and information from all of SXSWedu that I shared on Twitter @ammlib.

And innovation in Austin isn’t limited to new libraries and education! One of the best ideas I’ve ever seen for an appetizer is offered at Second Bar + Kitchen on Congress Ave, where they cut to the chase and put a chocolate milkshake right on the same plate with French fries for easy dipping!

Best appetizer ever at Second Bar + Kitchen!
Best appetizer ever at Second Bar + Kitchen!

All in all, SXSWedu was an ideal place for ALSC to reach out and move forward toward a future in which libraries are recognized as vital to all children and the communities that support them.

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