Library Leadership Academy Workshop-A Quick Recap

This was my first workshop/conference experience so you’ll have to forgive me for my somewhat incomplete notes and complete lack of pictures. I’ll do my best to recap the day and share some tips, tricks and snippets of knowledge that I picked up throughout the day.

We started our day with checkin, a light breakfast, and a morning keynote speaker. The keynote speaker, Marc Aronson, was a surprise to me since I hadn’t remembered seeing it mentioned in the brochure. I must admit, I wasn’t familiar with Marc’s work prior to the workshop but I’ve been itching to check it out since the conference. He was very engaging, funny, smart, and well-spoken. I enjoyed his presentation immensely. Here are some little nuggets of wisdom I jotted down during his presentation:

  • “School should not be passively absorbing and taking in what others know.” ~Marc Aronson
  • Resources shouldn’t stand alone in isolation from each other, they should be in conversation with each other. The example Marc used was on the number of planets in our solar system. Get out your non-fiction and fiction books out about the planets, the ones that say we have nine, they ones that say we have eight, and the new ones that advocate for an eleven planet solar system and put them on display together. Use the disagreement between the resources to spark a conversation and a curiosity in the students. Use the conversation between the resources as a teachable moment on getting information from more than one source and exploring more than one avenue to an answer.
  • He also had a great quote from Dewey that even though it was from a writing he did in 1900 could easily apply to today’s students. Unfortunately, I only noted the name and date of the quote and not the quote itself and I’m having trouble finding it for you all. If I do, I’ll update this post to include it.

Then, I attended a session on “Coring out Your Collection”. Sue Bartl taught the session and she is a dynamic personality and I’ve heard good things about her workshops from other librarians I’ve worked with in the past. She let us know we were the first group to receive this presentation and it was a little jumpy for me but still informative. Her are some of the things I noted during this session:

  • Get yourself a “Core Buddy”. Like a weeding buddy, they can help keep you motivated to move through your collection and get rid of the resources that don’t hold up to the common core standards. Your “Core Buddy” doesn’t have to be in the school or even the same state as you. As long as you keep in touch and encourage each other, you’re good.
  • Make it your mission to get to know your non-fiction section as much as your fiction section. Try to recommend non-fiction books as much as you recommend fiction books to students interested finding new books.
  • Have the kids help you evaluate your non-fiction collection. After you’ve taught them the basic parts of a non-fiction book (index, glossary, page numbers etc) pull some books you aren’t sure about keeping and have the kids look at them in groups. Ask them to find the different parts of the non-fiction book (good practice for them) and note which books are missing key elements or to which ones the students don’t respond well. Pull those on a cart and look them over later to see if they should be weeded from the collection (good for you).

The second session was about teaching research and technology skills to K-2 students. The main takeaway from this session was that, yes it is possible to start those skills, even at these young ages. The key was to keep it simple and think of it as a building block step and not feel compelled to teach them everything-that can wait until later. They should use some great, simple graphic organizers students can use to fill in information on a topic and each one had a simple line at the bottom that said, “I found this information here:_______.” Students would note the name of the website or book they found the information in and that was it. I really liked the simplicity of the act and how it will make learning about citing sources that much easier in the long run because they will be use to providing source information and will have a better concept of recognizing your sources.

Then it was time for lunch and our lunchtime key note speaker, Lee Berger. I wish I could provide you with some tidbits and nuggets from Lee’s speech but honestly, I was so entranced and enthralled with his presentation, I couldn’t stop making faces like this, much less remember to take notes:

Here are some links about Lee and his book so you can get an idea of what he talked to us about and why I was so awed by his presentation.

Finally, I attended a workshop on creating better MARC records. I was especially looking forward to this one because, I’ll level with you all here, I was not the best at my class on cataloging. It is such tedious, detail oriented work and I actually thought it might be right up my ally but alas, my brain must think differently than catalogers because I rarely identified the correct subject headings in our exercises. I digress. Things I learned from my workshop on better MARC records:

  • Consistency and uniformity are key components of good records. She gave us some worksheets we could use to figure out how we want things labeled so we and our staff/helpers can all be on the same page.
  • Only fill in what is absolutely necessary in your MARC records to make it possible for students to find books in the OPAC.
  • MARC Wizard is your best friend. If you don’t have it, figure out who you need to talk to to get it. There is no need to manually create full records in this day and age.

So that was my day. I have a folder full of handouts and a brain full of ideas to show for it. I’m already looking forward to the next workshop they host. Fingers crossed that my first NYLA experience tomorrow is just as exciting, enthralling, and informative.

Until Monday,



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