Senior Associate Julie Ryan attended the Conference for the American Association School Librarians (AASL) in Phoenix in early November. The AASL National Conference & Exhibition is the only national conference dedicated solely to the needs of school librarians and their roles as educational leaders. Held every two years, the dynamic event welcomed 1,800 school librarians this year! The organization’s website quotes Conference Co-chair Mary Ann Scheuer:
“The AASL National Conference is a gathering of the most vibrant leaders from our profession from across the nation. People you read articles about are there in person. Hearing from these experts and other inspiring speakers gives me the stamina and excitement to go back to my local community and give 150 percent."
The conference, entitled "Beyond the Horizons," launched the new AASL "National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries." Pre-conferences, a general session, and concurrent sessions were dedicated to introducing both the standards and an overview of the implementation plan. Pamphlets of the new standards were on sale at the conference, though preconference attendees received copies as part of their registration fee.
In addition to the100 concurrent sessions for attendees, the conference included a school library research symposium, and talks by general session speakers Jaime Casap, chief educational evangelist at Google; and author Jason Reynolds, recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor, the Walter Dean Myers Award, and the Kirkus Award. School and cultural tours were offered as well as author sessions and events. The Exhibit Hall brimmed with the latest resources and technologies for school library programs.
Due to the high number of visitors to the Search Associates table, Julie, whose experience includes being a reading specialist as well as an elementary principal, was unable to attend even one session on topics about which she is passionate! She did snatch a few moments to meet some of her favorite authors in the Exhibit Hall and to observe the Maker Space area just behind her table. She enjoyed meeting with a half dozen Search Associates candidates from Beijing, Kathmandu, Buenos Aires, and a few others who were back in the U.S. temporarily before "going international again." Many passersby to Julie's table were intrigued. The question "What is Search?" kept our Search Associate very busy. Julie reported that many conference participants said they plan to pursue jobs in international schools in the next few years.
Like all Associates, Julie takes pleasure in attending conferences such as the AASL National Conference, not only to stay current in the field of education, but to be that Search Associates presence to guide you through your first or next leap overseas!