Thoughts on ALA’s 2017 Annual Conference

ALA’s annual conference offers an opportunity for librarians to hear about the latest initiatives, ideas, award-winning books, authors, illustrators, websites, apps, tech tools…and so much more. But perhaps most importantly of all, it presents a chance to simply meet with fellow librarians, to reminisce with old friends, meet new ones, to share ideas and concerns. And, at the end of the day — after attending panels and checking out the exhibitors including, of course, stopping by to hobnob with our own Becky Snyder  (and Keith Chasse, Sharon Coatney, Jessica Gribble, Kevin Hillstrom, Barbara Ittner, David Paige, Cleta Walker, and Blanche Woolls) — it’s your time to let your hair down, enjoy the company of your colleagues, and to eat, drink, dance, and be merry. Oh, yes, and to advocate, always with the advocating!

We’re sure you learned many things that furthered your professional development and that you can use in your own library, and had lots of experiences that will make for some warm and fuzzy memories. In that spirit of learning and sharing, we asked some of our editors to share a few of their takeaways on the conference. And please, if you’d like to share any of your thoughts, leave a comment or give us a tweet; we’d love to hear from you!


Liz Deskins, our curriculum editor for reVIEWS+, jumped in with what might be everyone’s first thought as they gather at the conference:

“There are so many librarians! All different kinds, with a variety of interests and specialties; but all are happy to talk with you. We are family!”

Liz also felt it worthwhile to point out that “AASL is a democratic microcosm; it is wonderful to watch it in action.” And let’s not forget the books: “Books, in many formats, are still exciting and worth standing in line for.”

Here’s Liz taking advantage of the chance to meet with fellow librarians Jeffrey DiScala, Deb Logan, and Susan Yutzey. And who’s that sitting beside her, can that be David Paige?

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“We Read Diverse Books: Connecting Our Diverse Collections to Our Instruction.” A Supplement for LIS Faculty

We are pleased to continue our series of learning experiences designed for use with school library candidates in graduate/professional programs, including pre-service school librarians and practitioners working as educators while earning their credentials. This month, Carl A. Harvey II, Topic Center Editor for Organization & Management, has provided a series of activities to help faculty in using the text from our May issue for assignment instructions or online course modules.

Current subscribers can access the referenced articles via the hyperlinks below. (Magazine subscribers who still need to register for their login credentials at no extra cost may do so here.) As always, new subscribers are warmly welcomed into the SLC community, or we invite you to sign up for a free preview of our online platform.

In this issue of School Library Connection, which focuses on how to connect our students to diverse books, Leslie Preddy reminds us that, “although diversity is currently a social and politicized buzzword, it is important for us to remember school libraries have a history with understanding and embracing diversity in our community. It is through meeting the needs of the populations we serve that we intentionally, and in a natural manner, incorporate compassion and respect through the instruction, programming, and collections we design for our schools.” In many articles this month, our authors explore the diverse collections found in our libraries and the diversity of the patrons who use them, offering potential connections and points of discussion to LIS courses that focus on collection development, children’s literature, young adult literature, and library instruction.
—Carl A. Harvey II, Instructor of School Librarianship, Longwood University, Farmville, VA Continue reading ““We Read Diverse Books: Connecting Our Diverse Collections to Our Instruction.” A Supplement for LIS Faculty”

Thank You, Carol Simpson

We all love Carol Simpson. Below, Carl Harvey reflects on the many things she has done for the profession. Carl speaks for all of us when he says “Thank you, Carol Simpson!”

Carol Ann Simpson

I hope you will all indulge me a little bit, as I’d like to take a few moments to say thank you to Carol Simpson. I’m not really sure 600 words will be quite enough, but I’m going to do my best.

The May 2017 copyright column will be Carol’s last regular contribution to School Library Connection. For over twenty years in SLC and Library Media Connection magazines, her column has been the gold standard for copyright advice for school librarians all over this country. I know I personally have relied on her column for advice and counsel as I worked with the students and teachers in my building.

Carol has taken a very complex topic of copyright and translated it for school librarians. Her Copyright for Schools book—now in its 5th edition—and her many other copyright titles are classics that should be (if they aren’t already) on every school librarian’s professional shelf. Her work in copyright took her to the law profession where she has continued to be a voice about education and copyright.

But, beyond her copyright work, her many years working with Linworth Publishing and Library Media Connection led to many voices being published, many for the first time, sharing the successes and stories from school libraries. As editor of LMC (and its predecessors), Carol provided a forum for sharing and learning from each other. Marlene Woo-Lun, publisher of LMC said, “Throughout those critical years of change when libraries and schools were first struggling with how technology fit into education, Carol made profound contributions to the school library profession.” Continue reading “Thank You, Carol Simpson”

Pop’s Finger

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The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. https://www.loc.gov/resource/highsm.26720

In his November editor’s message, Carl Harvey shares a story to remind us of the importance of primary sources. If you’re sharing Thanksgving with relatives this year, be sure to ask them about their stories, look for the primary sources that go with those stories, and be sure to ask about that jar at the back of the cupboard!

Our November issue is all about primary sources. All kinds of primary sources. Subscribers can view the issue online here. Not a subscriber yet? Click here for information on how to become one. 

When I was in high school and college, my mother and I used to work on our family genealogy. In the years that have followed, we’ve continued to do that but jobs, family, and life seem to keep us from spending as much time on it as we might like. Through all our searching, primary sources have been so powerful. We’ve been able to prove—and disprove—so many myths and legends in the family because of the information we’ve uncovered.

One of my favorite stories (and the kids at school always got a kick out of this one) was the story of Pop’s finger. Fred S. Cogdill, who we all called Pop, was my great-grandfather. He passed away at the age of 96 in 1987. Pop was a very old man by the time I was born, but I still have memories of going to visit him in the nursing home. My Mom commented once that Pop was missing a finger, and he always told his grandchildren (there were thirty-three of them) that a lump of coal had fallen on it when he worked in the coal mines in the early 1910s.

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Library Friends

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By Carl A. Harvey II

I just ended a few days back home in Indiana attending the Indiana Library Federation. It was a great conference—good sessions, great keynotes, a full exhibit floor, and a well-organized and fun conference. But, I have to tell you my favorite part was networking with my friends. Sure, now that I’m living in Virginia, it is even more special to get together with my Indiana school library friends because it doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but it’s more than that. These are the librarians I “grew up” with in the field, and for that I’ll be ever grateful.

Over the last almost 20 years (good grief….where has the time gone?), these are the folks with whom I’ve shared my successes, commiserated when things didn’t work out well, and brainstormed the next great adventures. We’ve done that for each other countless times. They have been (and I’m certain will continue to be) invaluable to me.

School librarians are often the only ones in their building who do what they do. These types of networks and friendships are so important to the success of the school librarian and the library program. You need that support network to build and grow. Nowadays, we can have our PLN online with Twitter, Facebook, etc. These are wonderful ways to connect, but I have to admit my favorite is a table of friends, some good food, and wonderful conversation.

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The Good Ones

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By Carl A. Harvey II

Flying home today from a visit with family and friends in Indiana, I’m sure the people around me were wondering why I was fighting back a few tears.  While home, I picked up a book at my favorite children’s independent bookstore called Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson.  I don’t want to give away the ending, but let’s just say it was a tearjerker.  This middle grades book focuses on the relationship of a teacher to the student and the power that one teacher has to make a difference. … sometimes without even realizing that is what they are doing.

Reading this book made me think about some of the teachers I had over the years.  I remember fondly my German class in high school, where I know our teacher was often much more concerned about us than whether we had learned to speak German fluently.  I think back to the computer coordinator who took me under her wing and eventually led me to the path that put me in the world of school librarianship—not that either of us really knew that was what was happening.  I think back to the class birthday party that we planned for my 3rd grade teacher as a surprise.  If only I hadn’t dropped the cupcakes as I walked out the front door that day!   (Cookies were an acceptable alternative, thank goodness!)  I think back to my Kindergarten teacher who showed up at my Grandma’s 88th birthday party…. some 25+ years since she had any of the Harvey kids in class because she always said our family was special.  These are just some of the teachers that pop to mind thinking back over the years, and it makes me feel pretty lucky that I had so many “Good Ones.” Continue reading “The Good Ones”